Maoists disrupted several communication links in Orissa on Monday by torching government buses and triggering landmine blasts to destroy mobile towers, besides damaging a forest beat house, prior to their 12-hour shutdown in the state's southern districts.
As a result of their disruptive activities, the movement of buses and telephone communication were affected in Gajapati, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada and Ganjam districts.
The first incident was reported from Gajapati district in the early hours of Monday when Maoists set fire to four buses at Raipanka area. They also damaged a mobile tower at Raipanka.
Road communication was affected due to the felling of trees and burning of government buses, Gajapati Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Arora said, adding that passengers stranded at different places were provided food and water.
"They asked us to get down from the bus, after which they set the vehicles on fire," said Satya [ Images ] Padhy, passenger of a Jeypore-bound state transport corporation bus.
The night buses were plying to different places via Raipanka when they came under attack, Arora said, adding that no one was injured in the incidents.
The Maoists triggered land mines to destroy one mobile tower each in Gajapati, Malkangiri and Koraput districts. They also blocked roads connecting Gajapati with the district headquarters of the southern districts by felling trees and blocking them.
Meanwhile, normal life was affected in the districts in view of the bandh call, which began at 6 am. The Maoists had called the bandh to protest alleged police excesses against local tribals.
During the bandh, Maoists blasted a forest department beat house and a mobile tower in Malkanagiri district.
"The ultras blew up a forest beat house at Orkel and a mobile tower in Chitrakonda chawk," said a local police officer in Malkangiri district.
In Koraput district, one BSNL mobile tower at Mathapada area was also blown up.
The routes affected by the bandh were Adaba-Rayagada, Brahmani Gaon-Rayagada, Rayagada-Berhampur and Jeypore-Malkangiri.
"The traffic in several places of southern districts was poor due to the bandh," Deputy Inspector General (Southern range) R K Sharma said. Heavy forces were deployed in several places to guard the situation.