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Maoists torch only bus connecting nearly 50 remote villages in Bastar

The only bus service between Dornapal town and Jagargonda village in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh was reintroduced in May 2017 after 12 years, and was run by a private operator.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2018 20:11 IST
Ritesh Mishra
Ritesh Mishra
Hindustan Times, Raipur
Maoists,Maoists in Bastar,Bastar
The bus that was torched by Maoists in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. (HT Photo)

A group of Maoists torched the only bus connecting several remote locations in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, cutting off the travel and trade lifeline of nearly 50 villages in south Bastar, police said on Sunday.

The bus service in the region affected by left-wing extremism was reintroduced in May last year after 12 years, much to the relief of hundreds of villagers.

A private bus operator provided the daily service between Dornapal town and Jagargonda village with state patronage.

A journey through Maoist heartland
56km Distance bus service covers between Dornapal and Jagargonda
25 CRPF men killed in a Maoist ambush on the same route in April
18 Maoist-triggered IED blasts on the stretch in past three years
13 CRPF camps the bus crosses through the course of journey
Safety tips for passengers
  • They have to carry Aadhaar cards all the time as a proof of their identity
  • At places, passengers need to disembark and go through a thorough frisking
  • Cautioned against stepping away from the road to answer nature’s call

“About a dozen Maoists stopped the bus between Chintagufa and Burkapal around 5.30pm on Friday, forced the passengers and the driver get out, and set it on fire,” said a Sukma police officer who did not want to be named. “There were 40 to 45 passengers on the bus.”

The bus service during its launch in May 2017. (HT file photo)

The bus route cuts through the Maoist heartland, where security forces have been battling the insurgents in an unending cycle of violence. In April last year, Maoists killed 25 CRPF troopers in an ambush at Burkapal, which is on the bus route.

Sukma’s superintendent of police Abhishek Meena said, “Security forces never used the bus, only locals did. There was no reason to target the bus”, adding that the Maoists were frustrated after suffering extensive losses in recent encounters with security forces.

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 20:11 IST