While US President Barack Obama was interacting with the media in Delhi on Sunday, outlawed CPI (Maoists) hijack two passenger buses in strife-torn Kaklur in Dantewada Dantewada, south Chhattisgarh, to protest his visit to India.
Ahead of Republic Day, security arrangements were beefed up in Bastar but police remained unaware about the Maoists taking the buses with over 50 passengers on board under their command for three hours till they reached Kate Kalyan police station in Dantewada late evening. The rebels released the passengers unharmed.
“The Maoists wrote slogans on the buses and fixed banners on it against the visit of the US President and the Republic Day celebrations. The buses were later released and all passengers are safe,” additional director general of police (anti-Maoist operation) RK Vij told HT.
The Maoists, early Monday morning, also removed a small stretch of a railway track, leading to the derailment of a goods train at Kaklur. The extremists had blown up the tracks in Rayagada district of Odisha on Saturday, disrupting the schedules of various trains.
“The Maoists halted two buses. There were around 30 sangham members (lowest cadre of CPI-Maoist). Some in uniform were giving instructions. They spoke to the passengers regarding their protest against Obama,” Vikas, a conductor in one of the buses, told HT.
Some passengers from Jagdalpur, requesting anonymity, shared that the rebels were talking in Gondi and Hindi. “We were terrified. Sangham members were carrying bows and arrows but we didn’t see any other weapons, though there were also Maoists in uniform,” they said.
Interior areas of Bastar wore a deserted look on Monday, with buses and other vehicles off roads and local markets closed. The banned outfit blocked roads at various places by felling trees and placing boulders.
The bandh call, however, did not have any impact in the urban areas of Bastar.