Maoist shutdown hits three West Bengal districts


Kolkata : Normal life was partially affected in Maoist pockets of three West Bengal districts on the first day of a two-day shutdown called by Leftwing ultras in five states to protest against the central government’s disinvestment policy.

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“The impact has been only partial in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts. Some tribal areas are hit, with shops and markets closed and vehicles staying off the roads,” Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Zulfiqar Hassan told IANS.

West Midnapore’s Jhargram sub-division, which has now emerged as the epicentre of Maoists activities in the district, saw a near-total shutdown.

Normal life was paralysed and streets wore a deserted look in most areas of Jhargram.

In Bankura, the Khatra sub-division in the southern part of the district felt the impact of the shutdown. “Vehicle movement has been affected and the streets are deserted in some of the areas,” said Bankura Superintendent of Police Vishal Garg.

In Purulia, public transport vehicles were plying, but private buses, cars and trucks remained off the roads, said district Superintendent of Police Rajesh Yadav.

This is the second two-day strike called by the Communist Party of India-Maoist in June. Apart from West Bengal, it covers Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

The Maoists are protesting against the United Progressive Alliance government’s decision to disinvest 10 percent in the Coal India Limited and the Hindustan Copper Limited.

Apart from the five states, the Maoists have also called a shutdown in three districts of Maharashtra and two districts of Madhya Pradesh.

But for the first time, the rebels have exempted essential services including the railways, electricity, water, milk, vegetable, ambulance and newspapers from the purview of the shutdown.