The cadres of the left wing extremists outfit, CPI-Maoist, also abducted a policeman. "Maoists have taken away a policeman from Dornapal locality of Dantewada district early morning while they set five passenger buses on fire on national highway number 221 between Sukma-Konta area after asking passengers to get down," a senior police officer said.
The two-day strike, called by the rebels, began on Saturday in Bastar and spread over 40,000 sq km areas to the Kanker and Dantewada districts as well, disrupting normal life.
"The strike has crippled normal life. In forested and rural areas, majority of buses are off the road and in interior areas of Kanker, rebels have blocked roads by felling trees," the police official said.
He added that police and CRPF troopers deployed in Bastar had been directed to not visit thick forested areas as rebels would blow up the police vehicle.
The strike has been called as a protest against the government-sponsored anti-Maoist movement Salwa Judum (peace mission), which was launched in June 2005.
Rebels say that government should immediately wind up Salwa Judum and withdraw the CRPF and the Nagaland Armed Police (NAP) battalion currently deployed in Bastar for anti-insurgency operations.
Arout 50,000 tribesmen have deserted their native villages in the worst affected Dantewada district after the state government launched Salwa Judum.
Maoists reportedly run a parallel government in the forested rural belt in half of Chhattisgarh’s total 16 districts. Over 150 people, mostly tribals, have been killed this year alone in Maoist-related violence.