Maoists call for two-day shutdown in six states

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Kolkata, Mar 22 (ANI): A two-day shutdown called by Maoists across the six states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh as well as three districts of Maharashtra begins on Monday.

The shutdown is in protest against the Union Budget, which the rebels claim is anti-poor and prepared under the dictates of the World Bank.

The shutdown has been called to create public opinion against Operation Greenhunt launched by the Central Government against the Maoists.

The Maoists have also warned Union Home Minister P Chidambaram that there would be large-scale violence if the police continue to hunt down its cadres and kill innocent people.

All the six states have been put on high alert following the shutdown.

Maoists had on Saturday morning abducted nine people in Jharkhand including seven government officials, but later released them after three hours due to the pressure imposed on them by the local police.

Chidambaram had on February 12 defended the use of force against Maoists, saying it was a legitimate right of the Government to establish law and order, build infrastructure and set up welfare measures.

He expressed confidence that the Centre would be able to get rid of the Maoist menace over the next four years; thereby assuring that once the areas are cleared of Maoist elements, development work can be pursued expeditiously.

Referring to the reported offer of talks made by the Maoists hrough the media recently,

Chidambaram said, "Why aren't the Maoists making a simple statement that we abjure violence?"

The Maoist rebels are apparently waiting for a respite from a security force's operation against them. (ANI)

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