PATNA: Maoists on Monday blew up a railway track and burnt down several vehicles engaged in road construction in Jharkhand, imposing a day long shutdown in protest against amendments in two decade-old tribal land laws.
A part of the railway tracks between Chichaki and Karmabad stations on the Howrah-New Delhi Grand Chord section under Dhanbad railway division was blown up using improvised explosive devices (IED) at about 1 AM, shortly after the shutdown.
Several long-distance trains were disrupted till the tracks were repaired at about 7:40 AM.
Major trains that remained stranded en route for over seven hours included the three Rajdhani Express trains, Howrah-Dehradun Express, Kalka Mail and Hatia-Patna Express. The movement of a number of goods trains had to be regulated at various places, said railway officials.
“Soon after the explosion that blew up the tracks, railway officials and RPF personnel rushed to the spot from Hazaribagh. Efforts were made to regulate the movement of trains till the tracks were restored,” said Asim Vikrant Minz, SP (Railways), Dhanbad.
Road transport remained disrupted in many parts of the state throughout the day as both government and private buses stayed off the roads.
The districts where the impact of the bandh was seen the most included Giridih, Dumka, Palamu, Gumla, Garhwa, Chatra and Ramgarh, said sources.
Armed Maoists stopped a Bolero car and set it afire after beating up the people in it at Dhawatand in Giridih district, said SP Akhilesh B Beriar.
An earth-moving machine of a road company engaged in building a bridge over the Barakar river in the district was also set ablaze by the leftwing rebels, he added.
The Maoists enforced the daylong shutdown in protest against the amendments introduced by Jharkhand’s Raghubar Das-led government to the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, 1948 recently to facilitate the acquisition of agricultural land owned by the tribal people for non-agricultural purposes.
Coal companies such as CCL and BCCL operating in Jharkhand suffered massive losses as the shutdown affected coal transportation. Trucks laden with coal were seen stranded at coalmines and along the roads at several places.
“Security arrangements were tightened in light of the shutdown and raids are being conducted to nab the Maoists reported to have gathered at certain places,” said Gumla SP Chandan Jha.