Bhubaneswar, July 27: Fifty men, suspected to be Maoist cadre, attacked the Sagadpeta railway station under Harichandanpur block of Keonjhar district last night.
Armed with traditional weapons, they laid siege to the station, which is 60km from the state capital. They first began to pelt stones at unarmed Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel and railway staff, including the stationmaster, present at the spot.
While most staff were running for cover, the rebels allegedly caught hold of some and manhandled them. They then snatched VHF sets, mobile phones and cash from the railway staff. The incident occurred around 9.25pm.
Police, however, refused to confirm the incident to be a handiwork of Maoists.
We are investigating if the attackers were indeed by Maoist cadre, said Keonjhar superintendent of police Asit Panigrahi.
Following reports of repeated cable theft the RPF recently carried out raids in villages around the railway station and were successful in recovering some of the cables. The force also arrested some villagers in connection with the theft.
The attack may have been a retaliation to the arrests made, said Panigrahi, adding that an investigation had been started. The superintendent also denied the news of three men being abducted. All the staff are safe, he added.
Meanwhile, East Coast Railway has suspended movement of all trains till Monday as a precautionary measure. The station is a part of the Daitari-Banspani section and has just one passenger train taking this route. Usually the route is used by goods trains.