| Railway staff repair the tracks between Dhanbad and Giridih that the Maoists blew up. (PTI)
Sept. 23: The red hand choked coal transit, disrupted rail and road traffic in three states and killed three in Bihar following the bandh today.
Maoists had called the bandh in Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand after the recent arrests of some senior activists in Bihar and Jharkhand.
The three people rebels gunned down in Bihar include a jawan of the Special Auxiliary Police — specially created to combat Naxalism — and two others. Naxalites also struck at two places under the Amas and Barachatti police station areas and torched six vehicles, including trucks and a bus. No casualties were reported as the passengers were asked to disembark before the vehicles were set on fire. These incidents occurred near Amas on the Grand Trunk Road and Barachatti.
In Jharkhand’s rebel stronghold of East Singhbhum, the police are thanking the day’s incessant rain.
The downpour kept the rebels confined to their dens, said superintendent of police Navin Kumar Singh. “As expected, the Naxalites did not venture out of their den. Police and para-military forces carried out long-range patrols deep into the forests in Ghatshila and other parts, considered to be rebel strongholds,” he added.
But the Maoists stopped rail and road traffic in Jharkhand, too, and blew up tracks.
Commandant of the Railway Protection Force Santosh Kumar Dubey sources said about 50 armed rebels destroyed the tracks near Chengro halt, about 100km from Dhanbad, late last night. He also confirmed that the Maoists had taken the gate man as hostage until the operation was complete.
The gateman was reportedly asked to contact the railway control room in Dhanbad, but when he said he was unable to do that, the Maoists took him to an adjoining cabin and asked the cabin man to stop train movements.
Superintendent of GRP in Dhanbad Shashinath Jha said: “The Maoists blew up 1.5m of tracks at Chengro halt, between Prasnath and Choudhry stations, between 12.15 and 12.30am. They also exploded a bomb in the station building at Kajrap in Daltongunj-Sonenagar section.”
The damaged tracks were repaired after 10.30am and goods trains started plying, said a railway official.
Senior PRO of Dhanbad railway division Amarendra Das said: “In the Dhanbad division, all passenger trains plying through the Coal India Chord section have been diverted as a precautionary measure.”
In Palamau district, the rebels damaged a railway cabin in Kajrat Nawadih station and manhandled the staff for attending duty despite the bandh, said DIG (Palamau) Nanu Prasad.
The bandh did not result in any violence in Hazaribagh, said superintendent of police P.K. Singh, as eight companies of CRPF, STF and JAP were pressed into service. But transportation of coal was hit and mining companies have suffered losses in crores.