Thursday, November 22, 2007

Maoist shutdown affects rural Bihar

Patna, Nov 19 (IANS) The 48-hour shutdown called by Maoists in Bihar to protest the violence in neighbouring West Bengal's Nandigram region evoked a mixed response Monday with urban areas unaffected but life in villages being hit. Educational institutions, businesses, and market places remained open in Patna and other urban areas. However, police officials said life in rural pockets, particularly Maoist strongholds, was affected.

"Vehicular movement has been hit in rural areas," a police officer said.

The Bihar government has announced an alert in the state due to the shutdown and police in Maoist strongholds have been directed to be more vigilant than usual.

Bihar Police chief A.R. Sinha said additional security forces had been deployed at important government installations and public places, including railway stations and bus depots.

Railway officials said no trains passing through the state were diverted or cancelled.

A statement issued Wednesday by the CPI-Maoist said: "We unequivocally support the just cause of the people of Nandigram and assure them we shall stand firmly by them in their just and democratic struggle against pro-imperialist policies of the CPI-M and the fascist repression let loose by the state and central government."

Maoist leaders said the red-flag-bearing government of West Bengal has openly come out in support of capitalists and was uprooting farmers and their families to make room for industrialists.

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