Maoist rebels set ablaze at least 20 commercial vehicles in Chhattisgarh's restive Bastar region early on Monday to enforce a daylong shutdown on Republic Day, police said.
About 250 armed cadres of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) stormed into the industrial town of Kirandul in Dantewada district and set fire to 20 vehicles, including several trucks, a police official said.
Kirandul town is some 400 km south of state capital Raipur.
"The insurgents, including many women, surrounded Kirandul and after setting fire to the vehicles they tried to set a petrol pump on fire, but the police reached the spot and the rebels escaped into nearby forests," Pawan Deo, a police officer based at the police headquarters in Raipur, told IANS.
Maoists have called a daylong shutdown on Monday in their stronghold Bastar, spread out over 40,000 sq km. Rebels have ordered people to remain indoors and stay away from Republic Day functions.
Police say that strike has hit normal life in the forested interiors of Dantewada, Bijapur, Kanker and Narayanpur districts, with no private and commercial vehicles plying on the national and state highways.
About 60,000 police personnel and paramilitary troopers have kept on high alert in the state in the wake of the Maoist call for a shutdown.