Maoists have called for a 24-hour shutdown on Saturday in the five states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh to protest the killing of their leader Lalmohan Tudu.
People''s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) President Lalmohan Tudu was killed on Monday (February 22) during an encounter with the security forces in West Bengal''s Lalgarh district.
The impact of the shutdown was felt in the rural areas in Jharkhand, where the rebels reportedly have a stronghold.
Highways wore a deserted look with many vehicles stranded on the roads since midnight as the truck drivers claimed they would move their vehicles only under security cover.
Bhupinder Singh, a truck driver said, "Because there is a shutdown today, so people are not going forward out of fear and since my truck is loaded with fuel for the airline and if something goes wrong then the damage would be massive."
"We are waiting and keeping a watch. The moment we spot any security personnel, we will move ahead, else we would not be able to go further, added Singh.
The State government has deployed security personnel at important places to avoid any untoward incident.
The police personnel say that Tudu was killed while leading an attack on a paramilitary camp in Kantapahari on Monday (February 22), but the Maoists claim the forces killed him near his house.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren had on February 24 met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and briefed him on the various measures taken by his government to tackle Naxals.
Neyaz Ahmed, Director General of Police, Jharkhand, also accompanied the Chief Minister and took part in the discussions.
Maoist rebels on Monday had offered a conditional 72-day ceasefire through the media, and said that they are willing to talk to the government if it aborts its anti-Maoist Operation ''Green Hunt''.
The government said that in the absence of an authentic statement, it was unable to respond immediately, raising doubts about the truce and peace talks.
Reacting to this proposal by the ultras, Chidambaram said talks could be possible if the rebels gave up violence, a demand the Maoists have so far refused.