Malkangiri (Odisha): Armed Maoists set fire to a private bus after asking the passengers to alight at Mundaguda village in Odisha’s Malkangiri district, police said on Tuesday.
About 20 to 30 Maoists intercepted the bus at the village under Mathili police limits late on Monday night, and set it ablaze for plying during a strike called by the banned CPI (Maoist), they said.
The Naxals also beat up the driver of the bus, but did not harm the passengers and their belongings, a police officer said.
The outlawed outfit has called a ‘Bharat Bandh’ from January 25 to January 31, and in posters, called on people to support it.
Besides, they have also demanded withdrawal of BSF camps from remote areas of Malkangiri district.
Malkangiri SP Jagmohan Meena said the bus incident could be the handiwork of Maoists from Bastar Division of neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
Meena said a joint combing operation by the District Voluntary Force (DVF) and the BSF personnel has been launched in the area.
Meanwhile, Malkangiri Private Bus Owners Association president Bhakta Rout said they were operating in the tribal-dominated area, even as state-owned buses remained off the roads in view of the bandh.
Rout, however, said they have to now reconsider whether to operate buses in Maoist-hit areas.