Maoist rebels dig up roads, block traffic in Chhattisgarh

Raipur : Maoist insurgents in Chhattisgarh, demanding release of two of their jailed cadres, had blocked traffic and dug up roads in Sukma district, officials said Tuesday. The rebels were also observing protest week to press for removal of the army and paramilitary forces from the region, officials added. The rebels disturbed traffic on NH-221 by felling trees at several places and digging up two pits at a place between Kukanar and Tongpal in Sukma district in Bastar, to press their demand for release of two of their jailed comrades, police officials said.

Sukma Superintendent of Police Abhishek Sandilya told IANS Tuesday: “Police reached the site and cleared the traffic. Normal movement of vehicles on the road was restored by evening.” Notably, the Maoist insurgents are observing a week-long protest, demanding an end to an operation against them and withdrawal of the army and the paramilitary forces from Bastar, the hotbed of Maoist activities in Chhattisgarh for over one decade.

Stepping up their protest, the rebels felled trees at several places on National Highway-221 which connects the restive Bastar division headquarters Jagdalpur with Andhra Pradesh, passing through Sukma and Konta. Due to the undeclared blockade, heavy traffic was seen stranded on both sides of the road. Fearing violence by Maoists hundreds of truckers and other vehicle operators spent the night in open.

When police personnel from Jagdalpur and Tongpal reached the site, vehicle operators themselves filled the deep pits with soil mortar and the traffic was the cleared. The Maoist guerrillas had also put up big posters at several places on the route spelling out their demands for release of their two activists from police custody, end to security operation against them, and withdrawal of the army from Bastar.

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