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Naxals’ 2-day bandh begins, Railways on alert

New Delhi: A 48-hour bandh has been called by the Naxals, starting Wednesday, protesting against the death of their top leader Azad by the Andhra police last week. As a precaution, the Railways has been put on alert in all Naxal-affected states.

“The death of top Naxal leader Rajkumar alias Azad will be avenged,” say Naxals who have issued an advisory to the people not to travel by trains during the bandh – a stark reminder of the Gyaneshwari Express disaster.

“Don’t travel by train during the bandh,” the Naxals have said. As if on cue, the Railways have decided to run pilot trains during the bandh and passenger trains won’t run at night. Not just the railways, the states too are bracing themselves.

The Centre has meanwhile convened a meeting of all Naxal-hit states on July 14 that will be addressed by the Prime Minister. The disconnect between the central and the state forces, deployment strategies and a development package for the Naxal-hit states would be discussed in the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Union Home Secretary GK Pillai has denied that there is a disconnect between the Centre and the states on the Naxal strategy.

“It will take between three and seven years to get rid of the menace,” said Pillai in Chattisgarh.

While states try to iron out differences with the Centre on the Naxal strategy, the focus will also be shifting to how to extend the PESA Act in scheduled areas for fast development.

Naxal violence is on the rise in serveral states including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh which is known as the Red belt.

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