Govt puts Naxal-hit states on alert; hijack situation feared

Centre has asked Maoist-hit states to remain vigilant & take steps to foil any attempt of violence ahead of two-day bandh called by Naxals.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The Central government has
asked Maoist-hit states to remain vigilant and take all
possible steps to foil any attempt of violence, including
hostage-like situations, ahead of the two-day bandh called by
Naxals to protest killing of their leader Azad.

The Home Ministry asked the Naxal-affected states and
the Railways to take necessary action to guard railway
properties, tracks, public places, markets and other vital
installations to avoid any untoward incident during the
48-hour bandh called by CPI-Maoists beginning on Wednesday.

Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed told IANS that "the railways, as a matter of practice, always take precautionary measures whenever there is a bandh called by any outfit or political parties".

The Maoists have urged people to avoid trains on Wednesday and Thursday.

The bandh was called in protest against the killing of
top Naxal leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in Andhra
Pradesh last week.

The Maoists have vowed to take revenge of Azad`s
killing by Andhra Pradesh Police in an alleged encounter near
Sarkapalli village in Adilabad district. The Maoists also
reportedly asked people not to travel by train during the
bandh period.

"There have been intelligence reports that the Maoists
may try to create a hostage-like situation to demand the
release of their jailed leaders," an official said.

The Centre is particularly concerned over the safety
of Shatabdi and Rajdhani Express trains, rail tracks and
passengers as nearly 150 people lost their lives following the
derailment of Jnaneswari Express in West Bengal on May 29 by

Meanwhile, the Railways said it was taking the
situation seriously and has kept `crack teams` on standby.

Pilot trains will run during the day time also in
Naxal-affected areas and all trains will run in bunches.

The Maoist strike is expected to hit normal life in their strongholds in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Top Maoist leader Kishenji had said that basic amenities like milk, vegetables, medicines and emergency services like railways, ambulance and fire services had been exempted from the shutdown.

Kishenji, chief of the CPI-Maoists military wing Peoples` Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), said Azad and his companion were not victims of a gun battle with police, but were killed after being arrested.

"Azad was arrested from Nagpur along with another Maoist Sukdeb, and taken 150 km to Adilabad where both were shot dead," he alleged, adding that Azad was on his way to Dandakaranya to attend the CPI-Maoists` central committee meeting when he was caught by the police.

-Agencies inputs