Over 15 Maoists detained a government bus on Thursday at Telrai, where they had torched a private bus on December 11. They got into the vehicle and thoroughly checked the luggage of passengers for over 20 minutes before asking them to get down.
The ultras then asked them whether any policeman was travelling in the bus and whether their food and material were being transported in the vehicle.
After they replied in the negative, the bus was allowed to proceed with a stern warning to refrain from helping the security personnel. Plying of passenger buses into the Maoist hinterland has been severely affected after the red rebels torched a private bus at Telrai in Kalimela area on December 11 after asking its passengers to alight.
The ultras then asked them whether any policeman was travelling in the bus.
They targetted the bus suspecting it for being used for movement of the police and transportation of their food and other requirements. In a similar manner, Maoists torched a bus running between Kalimena and Balimenal at Beheraguda on December 13.
The rebels attempted to set afire another government bus from Motu to Bhubaneswar at Pusiguda a few days earlier but due to the presence of mind by its driver, the vehicle was saved and no one was harmed, they said.
In the face of threat by the ultras, private bus operators have stopped plying their vehicles while the state government was shying away from taking risk causing difficulty to the people in the district, a local leader said on condition of anonymity.