Maoists blast rail track, seize train


Ranchi : Maoist guerrillas blew up a rail track, laid siege to a passenger train for three hours and burnt trucks as they launched a two-day "economic blockade" in Jharkhand Tuesday.

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The protest began at midnight Monday to protest against the arrest of Maoist leaders and "police repression".

According to the police, the railway track was blown up between Barkahana and Barwadih stations. The engine of a goods train was set on fire in Lathear district.

Maoists also stopped the Jodhpur-Howrah train near Parasnath railway station in Giridih district. They stopped it around 1 a.m. Tuesday by parking a truck on the railway track. They left after three hours.

In coal-rich Bokaro district, the rebels stopped a coal-laden goods train and unloaded the coal on the tracks.

In Pakur district, the guerrillas raided the Panam coal mine and burnt eight coal-ferrying dumper trucks. Some rebels abducted four officials posted there. While three officials escaped, one is missing.

The railway authorities have cancelled around a dozen trains, including the Ranchi-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and Jharkhand Express, to avoid attacks by the rebels.

"No casualty has taken place in any of the incidents," said Jharkhand Director General of Police J.B. Mahapatra.

Maoist rebels are active in 18 of 22 districts in the state. Around 740 people, including 290 security personnel, have been killed in Maoist-related violence in the last six years in the state.

The "economic blockade" is also taking place in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.