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Maoists target oil train

Patna, May 20: Maoist guerrillas derailed a train carrying diesel and blew up 14 of its tankers on the Muzaffarpur-Narkatiaganj section of East Central Railway (ECR) in north Bihar’s East Champaran district in the wee hours of today.

The train was on its way to Rauxaul on the India-Nepal border when the incident occurred around 1.40am. The spot is about 170km from the district headquarters.

Chief public relation officer, ECR, Dilip Kumar, said there was no casualty but the railways incurred losses amounting to about Rs 5 crore. “All the tankers were filled with high-speed diesel,” Kumar added.

Police sources said the rebels first blew up the tracks near Bangari halt between Pipara and Jivdhara railway stations, which led to derailment of 14 bogies.

“On seeing that the bogies had not suffered much damage, the guerrillas set one of the tankers on fire. The blaze spread to the other 13 tankers eventually,” said Muzaffarpur superintendent of police Abhay Sharma.

Senior railway officials and police officers rushed to the spot.

Hand bills and posters bearing Maoist slogans and threats to the government for police atrocities on the revolutionaries were found littered among the debris.

Following the incident, rail traffic on the Muzaffarpur-Narkatiaganj section was disrupted for more than 12 hours.

The railways had to cancel three trains — Muzaffarpur-Narkatiaganj Express, Narkatiaganj-Hajipur Express and Hajipur-Raxaul-Narkatiaganj Express — while many more were diverted. Howrah-Raxaul Mithila Express, Bihar Sampark Kranti Express and Bandra Express had to take a different route. Train movement resumed 12 hours later.

North Bihar’s East Champaran, West Champaran, Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Muzaffarpur, all bordering Nepal, are Maoist strongholds.

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