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Arrests, transport pause mark bandh

Ranchi/Jamshedpur, Dec. 28: Two suspected Naxalites were today nabbed from a village in Seraikela-Kharsawan, as police and CRPF jawans began long-range patrolling in Chowka and Chandil areas of the district on a day a Maoist-sponsored bandh hit business and transportation across the state, including rural Ranchi.

Judhistir Mahto, 35, and Goltu Das, 19, both residents of Ghatdulmi village in Chowka, were involved in supporting Naxalite activities in the area, said Seraikela-Kharsawan SP Upendra Kumar.

“Mahto and Das used to carry materials, including firearms and foodgrains, to rebels active in the region. We arrested the duo after prolonged interrogation,” he added.

The long-range patrolling, he said, was aimed at flushing out Maoists from forests in Chowka. The exercise will continue for the next two days.

Maoists had called a 24-hour Jharkhand bandh, effective from midnight, to protest the ongoing Operation Anaconda-II in Saranda, West Singhbhum.

However, it failed to evoke the usual impact in Singhbhum, except for Galudih and Dalbhumgarh in Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum and Chowka.

However, no commercial vehicles including long-distance buses plied on NH-33.

Shops and business establishments remained shut in Galudih — which is close to the Bengal border — besides schools and other educational institutions. The impact was similar in Dalbhumgarh.

East Singhbhum superintendent of police (rural) Rajiv Ranjan Singh said no untoward incident was reported from any part of the district. “We have made elaborate arrangements to ensure that the bandh called by the rebels made no impact. Barring a few localities in Ghatshila, it failed to make any impact.”

The impact of the bandh was most visible on highways and in remote areas.

President of Jharkhand Bus Owners Association Krishna Mohan Singh said, “All the 3,000 buses across the state remained off road, as the bandh was total. Bus owners incurred heavy losses, it being festive season.”

In capital Ranchi, traffic on the thoroughfares wore thin. A few trains from Delhi was late today. However, railways officials said the reason behind the delay was fog in parts of the country.

Police spokesperson and IG (operations) S.N. Pradhan said the bandh was peaceful.