Hyderabad, Nov. 25: People’s War Group rebels blasted a railway station, a state-owned bus and two culverts to mark their “Guntur bandh” as the outfit continued with its retaliatory strikes against the recent encounter killing of three activists.
According to information received from the district, eight armed Naxalites came to a remote railway station at Pandugula village this morning and asked the officials to leave the premises. The rebels then detonated the explosives.
South-Central Railway sources said the blast damaged the communication system and signalling equipment of the station on the Nadikudi-Guntur sector, forcing rail traffic to be diverted.
In another incident, PWG Naxalites torched an Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation bus at Mukunedu in Durgi mandal in the district. The rebels asked the passengers to get off and then hurled two hand grenades into the bus, one of which exploded. A pregnant woman was among the passengers.
The rebels also blew up two small culverts — one near Bommerirajupalli of Eapoor mandal and another between Uppalpadu and Mantadoddi villages — since last night to mark the bandh, called in protest against the November 12 encounter in Chandrajupalem. Eashwar alias Madhav, a commander of the central Palnad guerrilla squad, was among those killed. Police, however, said the bandh had evoked “negligible” response.
Ever since the encounter, the Naxalites have been targeting government property to express their anger. A railway station in Tummalacheruvu, a telephone exchange in Veerapuram and a forest guesthouse in Mellavagu are among those so far targeted.
The PWG has also warned all elected representatives and officials of the Telengana region and Rayalaseema to keep away from villages and the Janmabhoomi works, chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s pet project.
The central BJP leadership has lauded the tough stand taken by the Naidu regime on the Naxalites. The only way to end the extremist problem is through a tough and firm stand against rural violence, Union minister of state for home Vidyasagar Rao said when he recently visited Warangal to call on the injured in last week’s bus blast.
Human rights organisations and Opposition parties are, however, blaming the government for delaying talks with the extremists. They have urged the government to take the initiative to bring the extremists to the dialogue table.