New Delhi: Rejecting Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s offer for peace talks, Maoists targeted railways to enforce the shutdown called by them in five states, which entered its second day on Wednesday.
According to reports, rail services in the Naxal-affected states were badly hit forcing the Railways to cancel some two dozen important trains in Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.
Railway authorities in Dhanbad had to cancel the up and down Patna—Barkakhana passenger and Garhwa—Singhreli trains in view of the shutdown. Train movement, including four Rajdhani Express trains, on the Gaya-Mughalsarai route was stopped yesterday night in view of the Naxal threat to blow up railway tracks.
The trains were allowed to move this morning after the entire track till Mughalsarai was sanitised.
Maoists blow up railway tracks in WB
Maoists have also reportedly triggered a landmine blast on a railway track near Jhargram in West Midnapore district this morning, injuring two drivers of a Tatanagar-Khurda goods train and severely damaging the engine.
The Maoists also disrupted train services on the Kharagpur-Tata Nagar section of South Eastern Railway.
The incident took place at Khatkhura halt station near here when the landmine detonated as soon as the engine of the goods train passed over it.
The engine and windshield of the train were damaged by the blast which left a two-feet deep crater at the spot. The driver and the assistant driver of the freight train were
injured by shards of glass.
Police and railway officials said several rail sleepers were blown up and the overhead power cable cut on both tracks by the impact of the blast. Rail services were halted in both tracks with several long-distance trains either diverted or stranded at various
stations since 2 am.
Railway officials along with police and paramilitary forces have reached the spot and repair work has begun. Several trains including Howrah-Puroshattampur Express
were diverted and other trains such as Howrah-Tata Nagar Steel Express, UP and down Howrah-Hatia Express, Sambaleshwari Express and other local and passenger trains have been stranded at various stations.
Shaktipunj Express, Ranchi—Varanasi Express, Rajabera— Gomo Express, Tata—Jammu Tavi Express and Howrah—Jabalpur have been diverted via Mughalsarai, they said.
A passenger train between Biramitrapur and Barasuan in Orissa was also cancelled as a precautionary measure, reports claimed.
The two-day shutdown by the Maoists affected normal life in Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.
Life came to a standstill in Jungle Mahal areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts with no traffic on the roads and shops and markets closed.
Long distance buses were also off the roads in Maoist affected areas, the police said, adding security forces have been deployed at strategic places.
Road traffic was affected in various areas of Malkangiri and Koraput districts bordering Chhattisgarh.
In Latehar district, armed ultras set ablaze a tractor at Paradih village.
Govt warehouse blown up in Orissa
Maoist rebels blew up a government warehouse in Orissa`s Malkangiri district during their two-day strike protesting the government offensive against them.
“The rebels blasted the warehouse at Bodigata, about 40 km from Malkangiri late Tuesday,” said Deputy Inspector General of Police Sanjeeb Panda.
It was an unused warehouse and the rebels blasted it, anticipating that it may be used for paramilitary forces engaged in the anti-Maoist operation, he said.
On Monday evening, 35 people were killed when Maoists blasted a bus in Chhattisgarh`s Dantewada area.