Bhubaneswar, Nov 20 (IANS) Traffic was hit in parts of Odisha Tuesday following a statewide shutdown called by a rebel Maoist group to protest the killing of five people by police in an alleged fake encounter last week in the state.
Operators have kept commercial vehicles off the roads in some places of Gajapati, Rayagada, Ganjam, Koraput and Kandhamal districts fearing attacks, a senior state police official told IANS.
Commercial establishments downed their shutters in some interior areas the Kandhamal and Gajapati, the official said, and added that the shutdown did not affect other districts.
The 24−hour shutdown was called by the breakaway Odisha Maobadi Party's chief Sabyasachi Panda to protest the killing of five people by police in Mohana area of Gajapati district Nov 14.
Police had claimed those killed were Maoists.
In an audio message, Panda described the incident as a fake encounter and said those killed were innocent people.
Panda, 46, who carries a reward of Rs.20 lakh for his arrest and is wanted in many cases, was recently expelled from the Communist Party of India−Maoist.
He has been continuing rebel activities after forming his own Odisha Maobadi Party.
Efforts are on to nab Panda, police said.