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Maoists blast into north Bihar

Patna, July 15: Maoists signalled loud and clear their entrenchment in the north districts of Bihar by triggering serial blasts that ripped up rail tracks in four places, under the Samastipur division of East Central Railway, and derailed trains.

The organised operation from midnight yesterday till around 4.47 am extensively damaged tracks and threw rail traffic out of gear. Services had not normalised till this evening. But few people were injured in the attacks.

Armed Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) activists blew up the tracks using detonators to trigger 3-4 kg bombs. The operation was aimed at making the Tirhut-Mithilanchal bandh, called against “the atrocities perpetrated on the supporters of a democratic movement” in the region, a success.

“This is definitely the biggest ever MCC operation in the north Bihar districts where they had very little presence till recently,” said director-general of police D.P. Ojha. He added that the MCC was trying to get mileage as their supporters were deserting.

The first incident was reported at 12.15 am on a stretch between Bhairabganj and Kharpakora stations in West Champaran district bordering Nepal. Three coaches of a passenger train running between Muzaffarpur and Narkatiaganj derailed after blasts ripped out over 13 feet of tracks.

“Although the coaches derailed, there were hardly any injuries to the few passengers travelling on the late night train,” said an officer from the district.

Police seized several live bombs and large amounts of explosives and MCC literature from the area.

About two hours later, the Maoists blew up tracks near Rambhadrapur station in Samastipur. The 5219 down Pawan Express was supposed to cross around that time, but a tragedy was averted when the driver spotted the damaged tracks and applied the emergency brakes. Two coaches, however, were derailed.

Another hour later, raillines near Motihari came under MCC attack. But the blast alerted the police, who stopped an approaching train.

The last explosion tossed 45 feet of railway track out of position near Gorhanwa Halt, also in Motihari. This time, too, the driver of the incoming train sensed trouble and slammed the brakes. But the engine and a coach ran off the tracks.

The blasts reverberated in the Assembly when MLA from Ramnagar, in West Champaran district, Chandramohan Rai, mentioned the MCC’s growing terror apparatus in north Bihar. Speaker Sadanand Singh directed the government to take immediate and appropriate measures to resist the militants.

The explosions confirmed that the MCC, which began operations in the north districts only five years ago, has consolidated its base with the help of Nepal Maoists.

On condition of anonymity, a senior IPS officer issued a chilling warning. “The bandh call and the serial blasts were meant to try their strength in the area. In a perverse sense, the MCC has become successful as in the area, life remained paralysed today.”

The police are more alarmed as reports of joint operations by the MCC and the People’s War Group have come in.

Ojha said in the last one year of STF operation in the north Bihar districts, 431 Naxalites, including Nepal Maoists were arrested, 20 were killed in police encounter and 245 firearms were seized.

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