CPI (Maoist) leaders have threatened to start an indefinite bandh in Bihar and Jharkhand from August 26 if Anil and Kartik, two of its leaders picked up from a train between Ranchi and Patna last week, are not produced in court.
This is the first time the naxalites have threatened indefinite strike spanning two states.
"We have definite information that our politburo member Amit Bagchi alias Anil has been apprehended on August 19 from a train between the two state capitals. The government has to produce him in court, or face indefinite bandh in the two states," said Koteshwar Rao, 51, on the first day of two-day bandh.
The 48-hour shutdown has been called by the CPI (Maoist) in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to protest the arrest of the two leaders.
Rao threatened to start the indefinite strike after the expiry of the two-day bandh.
Meanwhile, on Monday the Delhi-Ranchi Rajdhani Express narrowly escaped a major disaster as it passed over the rail tracks at Latehar in Jharkhand minutes before a landmine ripped apart the tracks at 5:49 am.
Hundreds of passengers had a miraculous escape as the train, moving towards Ranchi, rolled over the tracks five minutes before the explosion between Hehegara and Kumandih railway stations on the Coal India Cord (CIC) Section of the East Central Railway.
Maoist activists also blew up a mobile telephone tower in Palamau also in Jharkhand. Rao claimed that 3.5 crore people in 50 districts of five states have participated in the strike.
Though Bihar police didn't confirm any arrest, Rao told HT that Kartik, a Bengal state committee member, has also been arrested along with Anil.
Normal life was disrupted in the areas dominated by naxalites.