Lalgarh scene of violence again by Maoists

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Lalgarh, Aug 21 (ANI): A landmine blast and road blockades marked third day of shutdown call by Maoists in West Bengal.

Maoists gave an indefinite shutdown call on Tuesday in West Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia districts of the state, demanding withdrawal of security forces from Lalgarh and protesting alleged police excesses on villagers in tribal dominated areas.

A landmine exploded near a canal at Mohultala forest area of Maoist-infested Lalgarh region while paramilitary forces, patrolling nearby, defused three other landmines planted by suspected Maoists.

The landmine blast however caused no damage.

Traffic was disrupted as the roads were damaged at several places in the Lalgarh area.

"When I came here this morning I was shocked to see the entire road damaged, causing inconvenience to all. I am unaware since it must have happened at night," said Suman Mahato, a resident.

Markets and schools remained closed and public transport also kept off the road following the shutdown.

People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), which is also demanding the withdrawal of troops from Lalgarh, supported the shutdown call.

Hundreds of Maoists, who seek to expand their influence in India, had declared the town of Lalgarh, about 170 kilometres from state capital Kolkata, as a 'liberated zone' before they fled in face of police action.

The Maoists were evicted from the trouble-torn Lalgarh region of West Medinipur district around June 20, only after an almost weeklong joint operation of the state armed police and federal elite security forces.

The villagers due to fear of Maoists have been demanding withdrawal of the security forces.

Officials apprehend such a demand is a ploy to give the Maoists a foothold again. (ANI)

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