Maoist bandh call disrupts normal life in West Bengal

      A Maoist sponsored 48-hour shutdown disrupted normal life in West Bengal on Wednesday. Shops, educational institutions and business establishments remained closed in Jangalmahal area of West Midnapore district. Similar shutdowns were also witnessed in the Bankura and Purulia districts of the state. The Maoists gave the shutdown call in protest against the arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato, a leader of the People''s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA). The PCAPA and Mahato are being blamed for spearheading an agitation against alleged police atrocities. Mahato was nabbed from the Pirka region near Lalgarh village in West Midnapore district on Saturday. Mahato was remanded to five day''s police custody on Sunday (September 27). Police nabbed Mahato as he was about to give an interview to a journalist. Mahato had been giving regular interviews when paramilitary forces and the state police launched anti-Maoist operations in Lalgarh, the place declared as a liberated zone by the Maoists, on June 19, forcing him to go underground for some time. Tribals led by Mahato had a free run for nine months with the police withdrawing from camps, before paramilitary troops recaptured Lalgarh from the Maoists. Meanwhile, three CPI-M activists were killed by suspected Maoists on Tuesday night at the Ronja range. The Maoists have also called for a nation-wide shutdown on October 3.

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