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Maoists kill 2, blast rail tracks in 4 states, target Rajdhani

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 00:06

Ranchi/Gaya: Maoists killed two persons in
Jharkand and blew up rail tracks in four eastern states on Tuesday
just hours after they targeted a Rajdhani express blasting a
rail line in Bihar in which hundreds of passengers had a
miraculous escape after ten coaches derailed.

Armed Maoists shot dead a
private security guard and looted 25 weapons from a government
toll plaza at Mahapur in Bihar`s Gaya district late tonight,
on the second day of the 48-hour bandh called by the ultras.

Superintendent of Police Sushil Khopde said over 200
heavily armed Maoists swooped on the toll plaza spraying
bullets and hurling bombs killing one of the guards.

They looted 25 weapons, including rifles and carbines,
besides several rounds of ammunition from the guards providing
security to the plaza.

Earlier in the day,
the Maoists stepped up violence leading to disruption of
rail services and cancellation of several trains on the second
day of their 48-hour bandh. There was no casualty or injury in
the incident involving Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express
late last night.

In Jharkhand, the Maoists ransacked a sponge iron company
Narsingh Steel in Saraikela-Kharswan district and made an
abortive attempt to ambush security personnel who were on
their way to the plant.

A fierce encounter followed in which a police constable,
identified as Kalicharan Bodra, police said.

In another incident, a 65-year-oldvillager, Rampati
Gorani, was shot dead by Maoistsin Dumka district.

Around seven Maoists, armed to the teeth, dragged
Gorain out of his house and shot him dead after accusing
him to be a police informer.

Suspected Naxalites also abducted four traders in Bokaro.

A major disaster involving the Rajdhani was averted since
the prestigious train was travelling at a slow speed when ten
of its coaches and the engine jumped off the tracks near Gaya
station following an explosion triggered by Maoists.

The accident took place late last night between Kasta and
Paraiya stations under Gaya-Mughalsarai section of the East
Central Railway, police said.

"The train`s speed was 75 km per hour and that is why a
big disaster could be avoided," train driver R K Singh said,
adding that he applied the brakes immediately after seeing red
flag on the rail track. An eyewitness said the alertness of
the driver prevented a "major mishap".

Rail traffic was disrupted in the section since midnight
last night as cranes were engaged to remove the affected
bogies, railway sources said.

The explosive planted in the tracks between Kasta and
Paraiya stations went off shortly after the train left Gaya
station, district Superintendent of Police Sushil Khopde said,
adding a medical team with rescue train was sent to the spot.

There was no casualty or serious injury, Khopde said,
adding none of the derailed bogies fell on its side which
possibly was the reason why no casualty took place.

The Maoists are observing the shutdown in Jharkhand,
Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and
three districts of Maharashtra to protest against the stepped
up anti-Naxal operations, price rise and arrests of some of
their cadres.

Train services in the Mumbai-Howrah route in Orissa were
suspended following two back to back explosions triggered by
the Maoists near Rourkela.

A goods train which was passing that way got derailed
after the blasts at a place between Birsa and Bongomunda
stations in the wee hours, railway officials said.

Preliminary reports have suggested that there were no
injuries or causalities in the incident.

In Latehar distrct in Jharkand, the Maoists blew up
a one-metre length of the tracks between Chhipa Dohar and
Hehegarha railway stations

In West Bengal`s West Midnapore district, the Maoists
triggered blasts on railway tracks at two places.

Six policemen, including a station house officer, were
injured when armed Maoists exchanged fire with police at a
market in Belsand in Bihar`s Sitamarhi district.

Superintendent of Police Anwar Hussain said over 500
heavily-armed Maoists suddenly arrived at Belsand Bazaar and
ordered shopkeepers to down shutters.

A police jeep was also burnt by Maoists in Sheohar
district.

Ministers patronising Maoists: CPM

Condemning the Maoist attack
on Rajdhani Express, the CPI(M) today demanded a reply from
the Prime Minister alleging that members of his cabinet were
"patronising" the ultras.

"We have a situation where Ministers in the Union
Cabinet are patronising and encouraging the Maoists. The Prime
Minister has to answer this," party Polit Bureau member
Sitaram Yechury told reporters here.

The CPI(M) has been blaming the Trinamool Congress and
its chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for supporting
the Maoists for political gains.

Yechury said leaders and parties have expressed their
resolve in Parliament to strongly tackle the Maoist menace.
"This resolve expressed inside the House has to be followed up
in practice," he said.

‘Maoists not serious on unilateral ceasefire call’

The government today condemned
the "mindless acts" of violence by Maoists during the 48-hour
bandh call given by them in eight states, saying Naxals were
not serious about their unilateral ceasefire call.

"It is clear the CPI(Maoist) are not serious about their
pronouncement of stopping violence and having a meaningful
dialogue with the government of India on various issues. Such
acts of violence which target innocent people, disturb normal
life and damage public property expose true character of CPI
(Maoist)," a Home Ministry statement said.

"Government of India strongly condemns such mindless acts
of violence and terrorism and hopes that all right thinking
people will condemn such violence," it said.

Describing the incidents as "violent", the government
said "in West Bengal, Maoists blasted a railway track near
Godapiashal railway station in West Midnapore district during
the bandh period.

In Orissa, CPI (Maoist) cadres caused two blasts along
the Howrah-Mumbai trunk route in Bisra police station area,
causing derailment of a goods train and exploded a bomb near a
railway level crossing in K Balang police station area, both
in Sundergarh district.

In Bihar, Maoists exploded can bombs between Kastha and
Paraiya railway stations, Gaya district, causing damage to 2-3
feet of railway track leading to derailment of nine bogies of
the Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express in which seven passengers
sustained minor injuries in the intervening night of March
22-23.

In West Bengal, suspected CPI (Maoist) cadres cut off the
overhead electrical wire between Sordiha and Khatkura railway
stations in West Midnapore district causing disruption of
railway traffic, it said.

The CPI (Maoist) called a 48-hour bandh yesterday in the
states of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Andhra
Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra (3 districts) and Madhya Pradesh
(1 district).

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 00:06
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