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Economic blockade hits normal life in Naxal strongholds
June 26, 2007 19:09 IST
Normal life was hit on Tuesday in Naxal strongholds of Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh by a 48-hour economic blockade called by the Communist Party of India-Maoist to protest the government's economic policies even as rebels targeted railway tracks at several places.
The blockade, which began at midnight, had no impact in West Bengal and Orissa. Maoists, however, partially damaged a BSNL tower at Balimela near Malkangiri in Orissa in a landmine attack.
Rail services were hit hardest by the protest, called also to oppose the setting up of SEZs, with several trains being suspended or cancelled in Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh as a precautionary measure.
In Jharkhand, Maoists used dynamite to blast rail tracks in Latehar, causing 22 wagons and the engine of a freight train to derail between Chetar and Richuguta on Monday night.
Another length of track was blasted between Mangra halt and Barwadih near Latehar. Unidentified persons set fire to eight dumpers at Alubera village in Pakur district.
The blockade evoked a good response in pockets of Bihar's southern districts where Maoists have considerable influence.
In Gaya district, there was virtually no traffic on roads and markets were closed at Raniganj, Imamganj and Barachatti in Sherghati sub-division, considered a Maoist stronghold.
However, life was unaffected in Gaya town with normal traffic and crowds seen at thoroughfares.
In rural pockets of adjoining Jehanabad, there was a bandh-like situation with roads deserted and shops closed.
Barring few two-wheelers, no traffic was seen on roads between Jehanabad and Arwal and Ekangarsarai. There was absolutely no traffic on National Highway 30 linking Patna to Ranchi.