The one-day bandh call given by the banned CPI (Maoist) turned out to be a partial event in the Agency areas of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday. It passed off peacefully.
The bandh call was given by the Maoists across the five LWE affected States of A.P., Telangana, Maharashtra, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, in protest against the killing of 30 Maoists in a joint operation by the AP Greyhounds and the special police of Odisha in three separate encounters on October 24, 25 and 27 in the cut-off area of Andhra Odisha Border (AOB).
Except for the first couple of hours, life was normal in all the mandals. Most of the shops did not open till 11 a.m. in sensitive mandals. The bandh was taken seriously only in the interior parts of some sensitive mandals such as Munchingput and Pedabayalu, and at hamlets close to the AOB. After 11 a.m., most of the shops opened and only about 20 per cent remained closed throughout the day. The worst hit was the transport sector. Except on the trunk routes such as Visakhapatnam to Paderu and to Araku, APSRTC buses were off the roads at most places across the Agency areas. Fearing action by Maoists, the buses did not ply, despite the police giving clearance to some routes. Even private vehicles restricted their movement.
Most of the schools and colleges remained opened for at least half-a-day and banks and other government offices and essential services functioned as usual.Bus services hit
Normal life, however, was affected in south Odisha. As a precautionary measure, the Odisha State Road Transport Corporation cancelled bus services plying in Maoist-infested districts of Malkangiri, Rayagada and Koraput. Though private buses and small vehicles plied on major roads, they avoided remote pockets. Inter-State buses from Jeypore and other places in Koraput district to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh remained off the road.
Maoists made attempts to target security personnel. They planted two Improvised Explosive Devices near Hatamuniguda of Rayagada district. But the explosives were defused. Maoist banners and posters were found at the spot. In Kandhamal district, Naxalites felled the trees to disrupt traffic. Personnel of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force cleared the blocks to enable free flow of traffic.
Security was heightened in Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada, which border the Maoist-infested regions of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
(With inputs from Sibkumar Das in Berhampur)