Maoists blasted and dug up a culvert and blocked a road by cutting trees and placing them across the road at two different places in Visakha Agency late on Wednesday night.

The protest was directed against the government’s move to permit bauxite mining in the Agency and also to mobilise support for the bandh on March 24.

Wednesday’s night incidents came on the heels of violence the Maoists resorted to in Visakha Agency and across the border in Orissa in the recent past even as a massive combing operation is being conducted in the area.

According to reports reaching here on Thursday , around 50 Maoists, militia members and supporters, all wearing masks, stopped an APSRTC bus going to Chintapalli from Narsipatnam, at a culvert 100 M in GK Veedhi mandal around 9 p.m.

Most of them were armed with bows and arrows and swords while a few were holding fire arms. After taking away mobile phones from the passengers the Maoists set off an explosive which only partially damaged the culvert. Then they dug up the remaining part of the culvert.

They allowed the passengers to leave after distributing pamphlets urging locals to continue their fight against bauxite mining and to chase away Ras Al Khaima Company, for which the bauxite is meant. The pamphlets asserted that only Girijans have the right over the forests and forest wealth.

The CPI (Maoist) gave call for a bandh on March 24 demanding release of all Maoists lodged in different jails.

Around the same time, another group of Maoists cut down trees near Lothugedda junction and placed them across the road. The Maoists hung many banners on the road demanding the Central and State tribal welfare ministers who represent the Visakha Agency, to come out with a clear statement that bauxite mining would not be taken up in the Agency.