Ranchi: The two-day bandh called by CPI (Maoist) in protest against the state government’s “anti-people” policies, especially with regard to people engaged in the collection and sale of kendu leafs and lac cultivation, evoked a mixed response on Monday. The Maoist bandh, effective in four states, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal and Jharkhand, wanted to draw attention to a wage hike for farmers engaged in lac cultivation and sale of kendu leafs. Maoists detonated an IED (improvised explosive device) in Giridih to target security personnel engaged in combing operations, no casualty was reported.
In West Singhbhum, Maoists placed a landmine near a railway track, which was found and defused by CRPF personnel.Police spokesperson S N Pradhan said the bandh affected normal life in most parts of the state. “Public transport was affected in Ranchi, Gumla, Simdega, Lohardaga, Latehar, Khunti, West Singhbhum and other districts,” said Pradhan.
In Giridih, vehicles were parked along roadside eateries as transporters refused to “defy the bandh called by rebels”. State highways connecting Giridih-Dhanbad, Ranchi-Lohardaga, Latehar-Palamu and Chaibasa-Khunti- Ranchi were also affected. Khunti SP Anish Gupta said most shops were closed in Torpa, Arki, Murhu and Rania located away from Khunti headquarters. “Few people ventured outside in rural areas. No violence was reported,” Jamshedpur SSP Anoop T Mathew said. In Ranchi, Bundu and Tamar were the worst-affected areas. “Most shopkeepers shut shop. Patrol teams kept a strict vigil over the area,” SSP Kuldeep Dwivedi said.
Dhanbad SSP S K Jha said transportation of coal was hit in some district, but no untoward incidents were reported. Dhanbad is among the country’s largest coal producing districts. No violence was reported in Bokaro. Pradhan said all SPs have been asked to tighten security to ensure that the second day of the bandh is also peaceful. “Patrolling has been intensified on highways. In areas where intelligence reports suggest Maoist movement, we have deployed additional forces,” he said.