A massive combing operation was launched on Thursday to trace a police officer allegedly abducted by Maoists in Orissa's Keonjhar district as normal life remained disrupted in some parts of the state on the second day of the two-day Bharat bandh called by the rebels.
Special Operations Group and police personnel conducted combing operations in Daitari area in Keonjhar district, where heavily armed Maoists had attacked a police station and a forest office on Wednesday night. Nearly 80 ultras also abducted Assistant Sub-Inspector Umesh Chandra Marandi, said the police.
Meanwhile, the bandh continued to disrupt road communication and business activities in some areas as government bus services were suspended in Maoist-hit districts like Koraput, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Kandhamal, leaving passengers stranded at many places, police sources said.
The ultras also blocked some roads in Malkangiri, Kandhamal and Koraput districts by felling trees. A passenger train and some goods trains were suspended in Sundargarh district, while private buses also stopped plying in some areas fearing an attack by Naxals.
Vehicular movement in several rebel-infested regions remained restricted as the bandh evoked a mixed response in the state. The bandh had little impact in urban areas though shops and business establishments remained closed in the rural pockets of Malkangiri, Gajapati, Koraput, Rayagada, Keonjhar and Sundargarh.
Barring the ultra attack in the mining area of Daitari, no untoward incident was reported from any other part of the state where the situation remained peaceful, a senior police officer said.
Security was tightened and patrolling intensified in Maoist-infested areas, while a strict vigil was maintained in areas bordering Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Special arrangements were made to ensure the safety of train passengers and railway property as they have become a soft target for the ultras, sources said.
The East Coast Railway has regulated some of the trains running through Maoist-hit districts of Koraput and Rayagada in a bid to avoid any trouble, they said. Some goods trains running from Rourkela to Bimlagarh to transport iron ore and other raw materials to the Rourkela steel plant during day time and one passenger train running between Biramitrapur and Barsuna were suspended on Thursday and Friday in view of the bandh call.
The trains on the main Howrah-Mumbai line are running as usual, sources said. The passenger bus services and transportation were affected particularly on NH-215 which passes through Maoistaffected areas in Sundargarh and Keonjhar district.