Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Red bandh evokes mixed response in S Orissa

TNN 8 December 2009, 10:04pm IST

KORAPUT/BERHAMPUR: Apart from isolated incidents in Rayagada and Kandhamal districts, Tuesday's 12-hour Maoist bandh was moreorless peaceful across the southern districts of Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Kandhamal, Ganjam and Gajapati districts.

The statewide bandh was called in protest against police firing at Narayanpatna on November 20, in which two Chasi Muliya Adivasi Sangh activists were killed and several others hurt. This bandh marked the end of the People's Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) week, which the Red rebels were observing from December 2.

While buses plied on their regular routes in Koraput district, public transport was completely paralyzed in Rayagada district. In Malkangiri district, buses remained off the road on the 100-km road between Malkangiri and Motu, the southernmost town of Orissa. Offices, schools, markets and weekly haats remained open in the southern districts. Vehicular traffic was also disrupted in parts of Kandhamal and Gajapati districts. But there was no impact on other life activities. "Vehicular traffic was hit in some parts of southern range," DIG of Police (southern range) RP Koche said. However, no untoward incident has been reported in the range, he added.

Fearing Maoist attack, Bhubaneswar-Koraput Hirakhand train was terminated at Rayagada. Police had made security arrangements to avert untoward incidents in the volatile blocks of Narayanpatna, Laxmipur and Bandhugaon in Koraput district. "The situation was normal across the district. Adequate force was deployed in the district," SP (Koraput) Deepak Kumar said. There were similar reports from Rayagada district as well, although Maoists felled trees to block the Jarpa-Chaitanyapur Road in Chandrapur block in the distrct. Sources said the rebels, through posters put up in several places, have asked villagers of Khairguda, Pendli, Madhuban and Karlaghati panchayats under Gudari block in
Rayagada district to stop using mobile phones. There were similar orders from the rebels in Koraput district.

"Fearing information regarding their movements may be passed to the police through cellphones, the rebels asked people to stop using them. Personal warning had also been issued to scores of villagers," sources at Gudari said.
Police have found some Maoist posters in several parts of Ganjam district, including Aska, Dharakote and Hinjili for the first time. "We have found a Maoist poster at the Biju Patnaik Chhak," said IIC (Aska) Dillip Kumar Tripathy. More posters were found in Dharakote and Hinjili, sources said. Police are on high alert after the posters were found in Ganjam district for the first time. People in the district are also in a state of panic following this development.

Some minor incidents were also reported at Gallery police outpost. Otherwise, the Red rebels did not indulge in any major violence, even though police suspected their presence in the bordering jungles of the district.