Bhubaneswar: Republic day festivities were marred by a boycott call and unfurling of black flags by Maoists in several Naxal-hit areas in Orissa even as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik cautioned the rebels against underestimating the state and derailing development.
"Left Wing extremists have been disturbing peace and development for last couple of years. They should not underestimate the state which has shown the path of non-violence to the whole world," Patnaik said unfurling the national tri-colour at Cuttack.
Despite repeated appeals to return to the mainstream, the ultras continue to indulge in violence, he said adding that the Maoists must "realise the strength of over 100 crore people of the country."
The Chief Minister, however, voiced confidence that the state government would soon win over the Maoists.
Though the day was celebrated amid gaiety and patriotic fervour in most parts with Governor M C Bhandare unfurling the tri-colour in the state capital, some remote areas in
Maoist-hit districts like Malkangiri, Koraput and Ganjam saw hoisting of black flags by the ultras.
Following the boycott call given by Maoists, the day could not be celebrated in over 18 schools located in remote areas of Daringbadi block in Kandhamal district as no teacher and student turned up.
A bandh was also observed in Maoist affected Brahmanigaon, Dasingbadi, Simanbadi, Kirubadi and Katingia areas of Kandhamal amid closure of shops and stalling of vehicular traffic.
Despite tight security, Maoists hoisted black flag at a school at Bahadaguda village in Bhanjanagar sub-division. "We have recovered a black flag and several posters pasted on the school gate," IIC of Bhanjanagar Ashok Parida said.
Similarly, in the Maoist stronghold of Malkangiri district, several schools in Chitrakonda, Janbai and Motu failed to celebrate the day due to Naxal scare, sources said adding black flags and posters were also seen at some places.