The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has called for “Bharat Bandh” in eight states from February 7, and three days of protest, from February 4 to 6, against “Price rise, scams and state terror”, according to a signed statement sent by Mr. Abhay, spokesperson for the Central Committee of the party.

In a statement dated January 15, Mr. Abhay stated that the recent hike in petrol prices would lead to further inflation and manifest itself as a rise in the price of food and essential items, and called on party cadres and supporters to protest againt the rise in prices and the recent 2G spectrum scam that has rocked the UPA government.

Formed in 2004, the CPI (Maoist) is a banned guerilla organisation committed to the overthrow of the Indian state through armed revolution. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly described the Maoists as India’s largest internal security threat.

The press release said that the February 7 shutdown would be imposed in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district and the Gadchiroli, Godia and Chandrapur districts of Maharashtra. Ambulances and students attending examinations and interviews shall be exempted from the bandh, said the release.

There appears to be some confusion regarding the exact dates of protest. While the first paragraph of the release calls for three days of protest from February 4 to 6, the concluding paragraph states that the party shall observe two days of protest on February 4 and 5.