Maoists 'all India shutdown' begins amid tight security

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New Delhi, July 7 (ANI): The 48-hour 'all India shutdown' called by the CPI (Maoists) has begun amid high security and alert in five states, which are infested by Naxals.

The two-day shutdown has been called to protest the killing of Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in Andhra Pradesh's Adilabad District last week.

Maoists have urged people to avoid traveling on trains on Wednesday and Thursday.

Railways, milk, ambulance and fire services have, however, been exempted from the shutdown.

Meanwhile, the railways has announced as a precautionary measure, pilot trains will run during the day time in Naxal-affected areas and all trains will run in bunches of five.

Andhra Pradesh police reportedly killed Azad in an encounter in the Jogapur forest area early on Friday morning, while he was attempting to cross into neighbouring Maharashtra.

Azad was a member of the central committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) and carried a reward of 1.2 million rupees on his head.

Azad, who did his MTech in Warangal, was linked to the Maoist movement for more than 35 years and used to write articles for magazines on Maoist ideology.

There are reports that Azad was assigned the task of revising the Maoist movement in India.

There are also reports that Azad's death could lead to reprisal attacks in Maoist strongholds in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal following which the security agencies have sounded a high alert across these five States.

Maoist attacks have increased this year, especially after the Government launched a coordinated security offensive involving tens of thousands of police trying to flush out the rebels from their jungle hideouts in central and eastern India. (ANI)

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