The 72-hour bandh called by the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee in the Jhargram sub-division of West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district began on Thursday, with its supporters setting a pick-up van afire.

Police sources said one villager suffered a bullet injury in a fierce gunfight between security forces and Maoists at Bakshi in the Kotwali area of the Lalgarh region. The bandh was called to protest the alleged highhandedness of security forces towards PSBJC supporters at a rally staged in front of the office of Jhargram’s Sub-Divisional Officer.

Protesters torched the van at Sapdhara near Jhargram early in the day and left posters demanding withdrawal of the Central security forces from the region and immediate release of all PSBJC leaders, including Chhatradhar Mahato.

“Complete shutdown”

SDO P. Ulganathan said the sub-division witnessed a “complete shutdown, though there was no incident other than the torching of the van.”

“Though rumours about rallies and road blockades put up by the PSBJC supporters came in during the day, they were proved wrong. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr.PC have been imposed,” Mr. Ulganathan told The Hindu on the phone from Jhargram.

The series of bandhs called by either Maoists or the PSBJC is hampering development projects executed by the State government in the region.