Security was beefed up in all Maoist-infested areas of south Odisha as Naxalites started their Martyrs’ Week observation on Sunday. The Leftist extremists observe the week from July 28 to August 3 every year as the Martyrs’ Week in memory of the founder of Naxalite movement, Charu Mazumdar. Usually they resort to violent activities during the week to show up their clout in the remote strongholds.

Bandh call

Although Maoists have not given and bandh call during the week, yet fear of possible violent activity had its impact in Maoist- infested Malkangiri district. Shops and business establishments remained closed in several remote parts of Malkangiri district. As a precautionary measure, the private passenger bus operators as well as the Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) stopped operation of buses in Malkangiri district.

According to senior police officials of Malkangiri district, security personnel were on high alert throughout the district. Combing operation and patrolling had been intensified. There was extra vigil on the areas bordering Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh as there were reports that the Naxalites may gather n these areas to observe the Martyrs’ Week. All vehicles entering the district were being checked by the security personnel.

The OSRTC also stopped plying its buses from Koraput district to other parts of Odisha via Naxalite-affected Rayagada district during the week. All the buses would be diverted via Andhra Pradesh. But there was no effect on the railway traffic in south Odisha.

No private buses

In Koraput district security was stepped up in Maoist-prone areas of Narayanpatna, Bandhugaon, Lamtaput blocks. Private passenger vehicle operators stopped plying their vehicles to Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon areas of Koraput district.

Little impact

The Martyrs’ Week observation had little impact on day-to-day life in Rayagada, Kandhamal and Gajapati districts. Only the OSRTC buses remained away from the Maoist-prone areas.

According to the police, no untoward incident was reported from any part of south Odisha till Sunday afternoon, the first day of the Maoist Martyrs’ Week observation. Along with the local police of the Naxalite-infested districts, personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Border Security Force (BSF) were involved in the anti-Maoist security operations.

OSRTC, private bus operators stop plying services in Malkangiri district