KOLKATA: Normal life was thrown out of gear in parts of three Maoist-affected West Bengal districts Wednesday, the second day of the 48-hour shutdown called by the pro-rebel Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA).
The tribal group is protesting the arrest of its leaders.
No buses moved on the roads in Junglemahal — the forest areas of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura districts where the Maoists have their strongholds. Shops and other business establishments remained closed, causing problems to the local population.
“Though some government offices were open, attendance was very poor.
However, things have been quite peaceful so far,” the Jhargram police superintendent, Mr Praveen Tripathi said. The Jhargram police district was carved out of parts of West Midnapore to strengthen the police administration as the guerrillas have a strong base there.
The shutdown was total in Bankura’s Sarenga, Barikul, Ranibandh and Simlipal areas, while it evoked partial response in areas like Khatra, Erbanda and other neighbouring places, Bankura police superintendent Pranav Kumar said.
The shutdown was also observed by the tribal people of Bandoan, Bagmundi, Arsa, Balarampur, Jhalda areas near Ayodhya Hills, which is known as the present core area of the Maoists in West Bengal.
Security arrangements have been beefed up in the entire Junglemahal area. Several check posts have been set up and the security personnel have been asked to be extra vigilant.
“We have specific intelligence inputs on possible Maoist attacks. All the police stations in the rebel-infested areas have been alerted,” Mr Kumar said.
The shutdown called by the PCAPA, demanding immediate release of their secretary Ajit Mahato and other leaders from police custody, is being enforced by the Maoists, police said.