Maoists observe 24-hr bandh in five states
Midnapore West, Mar 20 (UNI) The CPI(Maoist)-sponsored 24-hour bandh was today observed in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and in three districts of West Bengal in protest against the Nandigram firing and Singur issue.
The bandh was supported by the Jharkhand Party and the Congress.
West Midnapore District Magistrate Bhabani Prasad Borat said all markets, business establishments aand educational institutions were closed.
Buses went off the roads in Bankura and Purulia after the CITU-led bus workers' organisations called off the services on recovering some Maoists' leaflets near the Purulia court premises.
The Ranchi-New Delhi Rajdhani, Hatia-Tata Jammu Tawi Express (8101) and Ranchi-Varanasi intercity (8611) had changed routes following the bandh. Many trains were also cancelled, sources said.
Police said the worst-affected areas included Belpahari, Banspahari, Goaltor, Lalgarh areas of West Midnapore, Ranibandh and Ambikanagar in Bankura and entire Purulia district.
Police were keeping close watch on the Naxal-affected Barikul and Raipur of Bankura district and Bandwan, Joypur, Boro, Jhalda, Barabazar, Ketshila and Manbazar of Purulia district.
CRPF, EFR, CISF jawans were keeping a vigil in the forest areas.
Border areas of Jharkhand had been sealed following today's bandh, police said.
The Jharkhand government sounded high alert following the bandh call, official sources said adding special surveillance would be on railway property and trains, the usual target of the naxalites.
The bandh also affected vehicular traffic in the state as 16 of the total 22 districts are naxal-affected.