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Maoist blast derails train

Nov. 19: Suspected Maoists tonight caused the derailment of eight bogies of a train from Jamshedpur by blowing up tracks ahead of a 24-hour bandh in Jharkhand against the Assembly elections.

Three deaths were reported by 12.30am. At least 40 passengers were injured in the attack near Posaita station, 120km from Jamshedpur, on the Jharkhand-Orissa border, around 9.15pm.

Three of the bogies, apparently ferrying central forces, were badly damaged. The passenger train was on its way from Jamshedpur to Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh.

The Maoists appeared to have booby-trapped tracks elsewhere, too, to delay the arrival of reinforcements. A special train carrying West Singhbhum SP Akhilesh Kumar Jha and other officials was forced to halt after a blast near another station at 11pm.

Train movement on the Howrah-Mumbai stretch has been affected. Trains bound for western India from Howrah could be either re-routed or delayed on Friday.

“The Maoists blew up a portion of the railway track which caused the derailment. Three bogies have been badly damaged,” railway minister Mamata Banerjee told PTI from Delhi.

The Howrah-Mumbai Express via Nagpur and the Howrah-Ahmedabad Express, which left tonight, will be diverted from Tatanagar. The Pune-Howrah Azad Hind Express and the Mumbai-Howrah Mail via Nagpur, scheduled to reach Howrah tomorrow morning, will be diverted from Chakradharpur and are expected to be delayed.

A decision on the schedule of trains like the Geetanjali Express will be taken tomorrow, officials said.

PTI quoted the guard of the attacked train, A. Biswas, as saying: “There was a strong jerk as the train was moving and stone chips went flying in all directions. Dust spread as the train came to a halt.”

The senior divisional commercial manager of Chakradharpur railway division, Vivek Srivastava, said contact had been established with the driver. Intelligence sources said three bodies had been found.

The Maoists have called the bandh in protest against the polls, set to begin from November 25, and an expected offensive by security forces.

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