Monday, February 08, 2010

Blast replay hits train services

Bhubaneswar/Munger, Feb. 8: Maoists today blew up railway tracks in Orissa and Bihar on the second day of their 72-hour bandh in five states to protest against the Centre’s proposed offensive against them.

In Orissa, the rebels blew up tracks between Bhalulata and Jareikela, about 30km from Rourkela, leading to derailment of two wagons of a goods train and disruption of train services on the Howrah-Mumbai route, Rourkela railway station manager S.K. Panda said.

In Bihar, Maoists targeted a pilot engine, which had securitymen on board, and blew up tracks on Saturday night between Rajla and Narganjo railway halts, affecting the movement of several long-distance and local trains, Jamalpur railway police station house officer Bindeshwari told PTI. Yadav said the pilot engine had crossed the area safely. The tracks were later repaired.

At Bhalulata in Sundergarh district, the rebels gathered around 12.45am to trigger the blast using explosives. “A portion of the railway track was blown up leading to derailment of two wagons of a goods train,” said V.K. Srivastav, the senior manager of Chakradharpur division.

However, there was no report of injury or casualty in the incident.

The Railway Protection Force and the police, who rushed to the spot this morning, defused a landmine planted along the line.

Following the blast, many trains on the Howrah-Mumbai route were stranded at different stations till repair of the tracks was over this morning. “The situation is normal now and trains started leaving the stations at 7am. Most of them are running four to five hours late,” Srivastav said.

On the first day of the bandh yesterday, the rebels killed railway supervisor Sukra Oram in Sundergarh district. Oram, who was also a BJP activist, was found shot on his head. It was the third murder by the ultras in the past two weeks. The Maoists had earlier murdered two CPM and Citu members in the district.

The rebels have called the three-day bandh in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bengal and Chhattisgarh to protest against the proposed Operation Green Hunt.

While the 72-hour bandh evoked little response in Orissa yesterday, the impact showed up today. While Naxalite-hit districts, including Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati and Ganjam, remained indifferent to the bandh yesterday, normal life was affected in Gajapati today.

Road communication was paralysed after government and private bus services decided to keep off the roads. In Malkangiri, some incidents of tree felling in Motu and Kalimela were also reported.


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