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Maoist strike over Nandigram hits five states

Ranchi, March 20 (IANS) A 24-hour shutdown called by Maoist guerrillas against the killing of 14 people in Nandigram in West Bengal evoked a mixed response in five states, with Jharkhand's rural areas the most seriously hit.

The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) called the strike in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Bihar and in the districts of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore districts of West Bengal.


West Bengal had blamed the CPI-Maoist and a section of the mainstream opposition for provoking the police to open fire at villagers opposed to takeover of farm land for industry last week, leading to 14 deaths and national furore.

The CPI-Maoist is ideologically opposed to the Left Front that has ruled West Bengal since 1977.

Tuesday's strike severely affected the rural areas of Jharkhand. Most buses were off the roads, coal transportation was hit and shops remained closed.


Nearly a dozen trains were cancelled in Jharkhand as the railways have always been a soft target for the rebels. Many trains were diverted.

Heavy security was in place. Additional paramilitary forces were deployed at important government installations.


Reports said the strike evoked mixed reactions in parts of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore besides the other states. But there has been no violence.

"Private buses were not plying in a few areas of the three (West Bengal) districts. All police stations were on alert," West Bengal Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.


Paramilitary troops were deployed in the forest areas of West Midnapore district and the West Bengal-Jharkhand border.

In Chhattisgarh, the insurgency-hit Bastar region was the worst affected. While private vehicles remained off the roads, many buses going to state capital Raipur and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh were cancelled.


Thousands of police and paramilitary personnel were posted in the Bastar region.

The strike evoked partial response in Orissa. State police chief Amarananda Patnaik claimed that it had "no impact at all".


The movement of vehicles was hit in parts Malkangiri district, a Maoist stronghold in southern Orissa. Shops were shut in some villages. But the police said the shutdown call had "no impact at all".


At least 14 people were killed and 71 injured in Nandigram in East Midnapore, about 150 km southwest of Kolkata, when the police fired at crowds protesting against the acquisition of farmland for a special economic zone.


In a statement, the CPI-Maoist accused all mainstream parties of supporting the concept of special economic zones to benefit foreign and domestic firms. Indian Muslims Info

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posted by Resistance 3/21/2007 08:48:00 AM,

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