Police on alert as Maoists call strike in Bastar
The Maoists are protesting what they call the exploitation of local resources, from forestry to mines, at the hands of the government and private companies.india Updated: Jun 22, 2007 14:48 IST
Thousands of police have been deployed to guard railways, roads, government offices and mining facilities in Bastar after Maoist insurgents called a two day strike, officials said on Friday.
The Maoists said they would hold a strike from June 26-27 in Bastar, a heavily forested area of around 40,000 square kilometres in mineral-rich Chhattisgarh.
The Maoists are protesting what they call the exploitation of local resources, from forestry to mines, at the hands of the government and private companies.
Several private companies, such as Essar Steel Ltd operate in the region as well as India's largest iron ore producer and exporter, the state-run National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd (NMDC).
Earlier this month, rebels destroyed railway tracks in the region and set a conveyor belt on fire at an NMDC plant in the area, costing the company millions of rupees.
Maoists, who say they are fighting for the rights of millions of poor peasants and landless labourers in India, have had a strong presence for more than three decades in the Bastar region.
Thousands of people have been killed since the Maoists began their insurgency in the late 1960s. Their activities have spread to at least 13 of India's 29 states, with mineral-rich Chhattisgarh being the worst affected.