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Red fury sparks bloodspill on tracks

Jhajha (Jamui)/Patna, April 8: Barely days after storming a CISF outpost at Bokaro in Jharkhand, red rage clawed its way across the border into Bihar, where, in yet another act of daredevilry, a group of Naxalites opened fire on the RPF escort party of the 213 Up Howrah-Mokama passenger train killing two policemen and injuring three others.

The incident took place around 8 am after the train pulled out of the Narganjo halt station and was on its way to Jhajha on the Kiul-Asansol main section of Eastern Railway.

According to eyewitnesses, a group of village women boarded the sleeper compartment of the train at Ghorparan railway station in Jamui district and the men joined them at Narganjo.

As the journey started from Narganjo, the women got into the act, hurling chilly powder at the RPF men and overpowering them.

“The compartment was crowded. The women sat near the door with the RPF personnel and as the train left Narganjo, they started throwing chilly powder at the security personnel. Some of the men tried to snatch their weapons and we heard gun shots,” a passenger said on condition of anonymity.

The Naxalites then opened fire on the police party and resistance from the RPF personnel fell through in the face of “sophisticated” arms the red brigade was carrying.

While two constables — Abhijeet Bag and Palash Ghosh — died on the spot, assistant sub-inspector Sriram Srivastava, along with Bishwanath Sardar and Joyant Biswas sustained bullet injuries.

The bodies of the two deceased officers of Hooghly district in Bengal have been taken to Asansol and will be sent to their families by tonight, a senior railway official said in Asansol.

Conditions of both Srivastava and Sardar being critical, they were taken to Asansol. But Srivastava was later referred to the BN Singh hospital in Calcutta after his condition started deteriorating.

RPF assistant commandant Rajkumar Singh said the Maoists fled with two carbines, one SLR and two pistols, along with 140 carbine cartridges and 70 and 40 cartridges of SLR and pistols, respectively.

None of the passengers, though, were hurt.

The operation over in half an hour, the extremists got down at Rajala halt station, about 8 km from Jhajha and 15 minutes from Narganjo. Before alighting, the Maoists reportedly warned the passengers against “acting smart”.

Jamui district magistrate Ramsobhit Paswan and superintendent of police A.K. Ambedhkar, who rushed to the spot from Jamui district headquarters, said prima facie evidence suggested the attack was a handiwork of the Naxalites. “Loot of weapons seems to be the motive,” the SP added.

Ambedhkar further said the police have launched raids and an alert has been sounded in Jamui.

Encounter

A fierce encounter between the CRPF and the Maoists took place near Hasanpur village under Anti police station in Gaya district this afternoon.

According to reports, the CRPF jawans, led by assistant commandant S.K. Savita, were returning from a combing operation in the Konch area when they were attacked by the Naxalites.

In the battle of nerves, the ultras blinked first and made a retreat after about 50 minutes of heavy firing leaving behind weapons, including one self-loading rifle and three police rifles earlier looted by their counterparts.

According to sources, both Naxalites and CRPF men steeped in guerrilla warfare took up “safe positions”. Nobody was injured in the encounter.

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