Maoists disrupted communication link in Orissa by torching government buses and triggering landmine blasts to destroy mobile towers besides damaging a forest beat house in the wee hours on Monday, prior to their 12-hour shutdown in the state’s southern districts.

As a result of their disruptive activities, movement of buses and telephone communication were affected in Gajapati, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada and Ganjam districts.

The first incident was reported from Gajapati district in the early hours when Maoists set fire to four buses at Raipanka area. They also damaged a mobile tower at Raipanka.

Road communication was affected due to felling of trees and burning of government buses, Gajapati SP Sanjiv Arora said, adding passengers stranded at different places were provided food and water.

“They asked us to get down from the bus after which they set the vehicles on fire,” Satya Padhy, a passenger of Jeypore-bound state transport corporation bus, said.

The night buses were plying to different places in southern districts via Raipanka when they came under attack, Arora said, adding no one was injured in the incidents.

The Maoists triggered land mines to destroy one mobile tower each in Gajapati, Malkangiri and Koraput districts. They also blocked roads connecting Gajapati with the district headquarters of the southern districts by felling trees.

Meanwhile, normal life was affected in the districts in view of the bandh call which began at 6 am. The Maoists had given a call for the bandh protesting alleged police excesses against tribals.

During the bandh, Maoists blasted a forest department beat house and a mobile tower in Malkanagiri district.

“The ultras blew up a forest beat house at Orkel and a mobile tower in Chitrakonda chawk,” said a local police officer in Malkangiri district.

In Koraput district, one BSNL mobile tower at Mathapada area was also blasted.

The routes affected by the bandh were Adaba-Rayagada, Brahmani Gaon-Rayagada, Rayagada-Berhampur and Jeypore-Malkangiri.

“The traffic in several places of southern districts was poor due to the bandh, DIG (Southern range) R K Sharma said.

Heavy forces were deployed in several places to guard the situation.