Raipur, July 23 (Calcutta Tube) Armed Maoists stormed into a bus in Chhattisgarh, forced the 40-odd passengers out and drove away, leaving the commuters to walk several kilometers on a jungle road, police said Friday.
The Maoists, also numbering over 40, stopped the bus at Murgunda village in Bijapur district, about 500 km south of here, Thursday night and interrogated passengers one by one. The rebels directed the civilians not to travel by bus in Bastar as it was likely that the buses might be blown up in a bid to target the police.
Police came to know about the Maoists act only Friday when passengers reported the matter.
‘Maoists drove away the bus belonging to Tomar Travels, some 12 km away from Murgunda village, after asking the passengers to go on foot. The horrified passengers have recounted their story before the Bijapur police Friday after travelling several kilometres under cover of darkness in thickly forested areas,’ T.J. Longkumer, inspector general of police, Bastar, told IANS.
He said police Friday recovered the bus abandoned on National Highway 16.
‘There were 40 passengers in the bus besides a driver and conductor when Maoists stormed into the vehicle. A case has been registered at the Basaguda police station on the complaint of the driver,’ the officer added.
He described the incident ‘a planned act of Maoists to terrorise the civilians who have nothing to do with police, Maoists or insurgency’.
Officers at the police headquarters said that several passengers, who were interrogated and frisked by Maoists inside the bus, told police that the guerrillas asked them never to use buses in Bastar as there were chances of these being blown up.
In a similar kind of act, Maoists had May 17 blown up a civilian bus in Bastar’s Dantewada district on a state highway after few policemen got into the bus. At least 31 people, a mix of policemen and civilian passengers, were killed in that blast.