Tribal party shutdown has partial impact in West Bengal

KOLKATA - Train services were disrupted and road blockades were put up as the Jharkhand Disum Party (JDP) Monday called a 12-hour shutdown in West Bengal, but the closure had partial impact in three districts.

The shutdown called in protest against the joint operation by security forces in West Midnapore and Purulia districts saw markets and shops closed in tribal areas like Bundwan and Baghmundi of Purulia, and parts of Burdwan and Hooghly districts.
“There was a limited impact of the shutdown in Hooghly and Burdwan. There were road and rail blockades for some time in the morning. But we had problems at Gurap in Hooghly where the road blockade continued for long,” Inspector General of Police (Law and order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.
Around 50 shutdown supporters were arrested from the affected areas for obstructing road and rail traffic, he said.
An Eastern Railway statement said train services on Howrah-Barddhaman chord line, Bandel-Burdwan main line and Seoraphulli-Tarakeswar sections of the Howrah division were disrupted since 5.55 a.m. due to obstructions at a number of stations by the JDP supporters.
Both up and down Santiniketan Express and down Rampurhat-Howrah Viswabharati Fast Passenger were cancelled due to the obstructions.
Twelve express trains were also detained at various stations for some time as the agitators squatted on railway tracks, the statement added.
The state government had launched a massive security operation by deploying central paramilitary troopers and state armed policemen to flush out Maoist extremists from West Midnapore’s Lalgarh region last month after the ultras virtually established a free zone there.
But after more than five weeks of action, the security forces have failed to nab any top Maoist leaders, while the ultras killed several activists of the state’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and also abducted and later released a police officer.
The Maoists have been active in areas under 21 police stations of the state’s three western districts - West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.