Normal life was thrown out of gear in portions of three Maoist affected districts of West Bengal on Wednesday, the second day of the 48-hour shutdown enforced by the pro-Maoist Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA). The tribal group is protesting the arrest of their leaders.
No buses moved on the roads in Junglemahal, the forest areas of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura districts. Shops and other business establishments remained closed, causing problems to the local population.
"Though some government offices were open, attendance was very poor," Jhargram police superintendent Praveen Tripathi said. "However, things have been quite peaceful so far," he said.
The Jhargram police district was carved out of parts of West Midnapore to strengthen the police administration as the ultras have a strong base there.
The shutdown was total in Bankura's Sarenga, Barikul, Ranibandh and Simlipal areas, while it evoked partial response in areas like Khatra, Erbanda and other neighbouring places, said Bankura police superintendent Pranav Kumar.
The shutdown was also observed by the tribal people of Bandoan, Bagmundi, Arsa, Balarampur, Jhalda areas near Ayodhya Hills, which is known as the present core area of the ultra Leftist rebels in the West Bengal.
Security arrangements have been beefed up in the entire Junglemahal area. Several check posts have been set up and the security personnel have been asked to be extra vigilant.
"We have specific intelligence inputs on possible Maoist attack and all the police stations in the rebel-infested areas have been alerted," Kumar said.
The shutdown called by the PCAPA, demanding immediate release of their secretary Ajit Mahato and other leaders from police custody, is being enforced by the Maoists, police said.