Raipur: Normal life was badly hit Sunday in the interior districts of Chhattisgarh after the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist launched its "protest week" against the conviction of human rights activist Binayak Sen. However, no violence has been reported, police said.
Roads were blocked and shops downed the shutters in areas bordering the state`s forest region.
Vehicles avoided even the highways in Bijapur and Dantewada districts fearing attacks, said the police.
Bastar, Rajnandgaon, some parts of Raipur, Dhamtari and Durg districts were among the badly affected areas as the protest week began Sunday. Shops were shut after the shopkeepers decided to obey the Maoists, a senior officer at the police headquarters in Raipur said.
He said it was a big relief that no violence was reported from anywhere in the state.
Anticipating attacks on civilians and government installations during the Jan 2-8 protest, security has been stepped up in and around government buildings. Policemen have been deployed in areas vulnerable to Maoist attacks.
The 40,000 sq km Bastar region has been a stronghold of the Maoists since the late 1980s.
"Security is always up in the state, particularly in Bastar. Forces have been asked to maintain extra vigil during the protest week as Maoists may attempt to launch attacks," Director General of Police Vishwaranjan told reporters.
The rebels announced the protest week against the Dec 24 court verdict sentencing Sen to a life term on charges of sedition, along with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata-based businessman Piyush Guha.