Lukewarm response to bandh called by Maoists

Bhubaneswar: The bandh call given by the Maoists evoked lukewarm response in various naxal-hit areas of Orissa today amid normal trade and business activities and vehicular movement, police said.

The Orissa bandh called by the red rebels in protest against alleged arrest of a Maoist leader Damodar and combing operation in certain areas had little impact in districts like Sundargarh, Koraput, Gajapati, Rayagada, Nawrangpur, Kandhamal and Ganjam, they said. Shops and business establishments remained open and did normal business in almost all the Maoist hit areas of the state, a senior police official said.

In Sundargarh district, passenger buses, transport trucks and private vehicles plied as usual, he said adding train services were also normal during the one-day bandh. "There was no response to the bandh call given by the ultras in these southern districts", said DIG (southern range) R K Sharma.  As a precautionary measure, the police had alerted the forces in the Maoist-infested areas, particularly in southern region. Security forces also carried out combing operation in Kandhamal district. "We have asked the forces to maintain a strict vigil," the DIG said.

"Besides the combing operation, we have also blocked several areas in Daringibadi, Kotagarh and Bramhanigaon in Kandhamal district," said SP (Kandhamal) JN Pankaj adding vehicles are being checked thoroughly.