Roads were deserted, schools were closed and shops downed shutters across many parts of Chhattisgarh on Thursday as the opposition Congress began a daylong shutdown to protest the massacre of 76 troopers by Maoist guerrillas.
Roads wore a deserted look not only in the State capital Raipur but also in the second most populous town in the State, Bilaspur. In Durg and the industrial towns of Korba, Raigarh and Bhilai too, vehicles remained off roads.
According to reports coming in from the Bastar region, the State’s Maoist stronghold, the shutdown hit life in five districts — Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Bastar and Kanker.
Schools remained closed across the state while shopkeepers downed their shutters as a mark of protest.
Chhattisgarh State Congress president Dhanendra Sahu told reporters here that the strike was called to protest the flawed policies of the State’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) that resulted in the killing of 76 troopers on Tuesday in the biggest ever attack carried by Maoists.
Hundreds of Maoists trapped over 80 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers on a hilly stretch, some 450 km south of Raipur, in Dantewada district and went on a killing spree using pressure bombs and automatic weapons.
About a dozen industrial bodies, including the Chhattisgarh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have extended support to the shutdown to express their solidarity with the deceased security personnel.