Maoist call for boycott fails to dampen R-Day spirit

New Delhi: Maoist call for a boycott today failed to evoke any response in Naxal-hit states even as the country celebrated Republic Day with leaders asking rebel groups to shun violence and join the mainstream to ensure enduring peace.

Suspected militants triggered a powerful bomb blast in Manipur`s capital Imphal but no one was injured, police said.

State Governor Gurbachan Jagat unfurled the national flag and took salute at a march past amid tight security.

Chattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt attended the R-Day function in Raipur and asked people to help authorities crush the Naxalite movement which he termed as anti-national.

Mobile phones across Kashmir Valley remained switched off till about noon as service providers shut off links as part of the security drill for the day.

Maoist and rebel calls for boycott of the celebrations did not have any visible impact in states like Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam and other north eastern states except Manipur, where normal life was hit in the wake of calls by insurgent outfits like UNLF and RPF.

Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmed said Naxalism was a major problem in the state`s progress and appealed to the extremists to shun the path of violence.

Assam Governor J B Patnaik sought lasting peace in the insurgency hit state while Arunachal Governor General (retd) J J Singh exhorted the people to openly come out against calls for bandhs for all-round economic development.

In Patna, Governor Devanand Konwar said the Nitish Kumar government decided to have zero tolerance on corruption, saying that disproportionate assets of public servants were being confiscated by way of strict implementation of the law.