Raipur: A shutdown called by Maoists crippled life in parts of Chhattisgarh on Wednesday, with the rebels attacking and injuring eight policemen, resorting to firing, torching vehicles and putting up road blocks.

They also killed a trader. Most of the disturbances were reported from Bastar and Rajnandgaon districts, which form the Maoist strongholds and border Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra.

The rebels ambushed police personnel in Chhindgarh in Dantewada district while they were going for a bath in Gorli river, injuring eight of them in the ensuing gun battle. An injured policeman said 40-50 rebels started firing at them after detonating bombs.

They returned the fire, with the encounter lasting for two hours.  In another incident, police fought Maoists near Ganesh Nala, in which two rebels were injured. Police also recovered road digging tools, detonators and wires.

The rebels also fought security forces in Sukma and Bijapur districts of Bastar division, said police. Police said a trader was killed at Pakhanjur. No further details were available. Meanwhile, the Maoists, who had abducted two civilians on Tuesday from Bijapur, threw their bodies on the national highway near Tindori village in Dharmgarh.

In Permeta village of Rajnandgaon district, the rebels set ablaze three vehicles engaged in the construction of a dam. To enforce the shutdown, the Maoists began blocking roads at Konta, Gorgunda, Polampalli and Chintur by digging and felling trees at half a dozen places on the road leading to Boddogumma in Andhra Pradesh.  

As a result, buses plying locally as well as on long-distance routes from Jagdalpur to Hyderabad did not run. Railway services were too affected. The Communist Party of India-Maoist wants the army pulled out of Bastar, operations against it halted, and tribals and other activists arrested for suspected Maoist links to be released. 

(Agencies)

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