PATNA: The movement of trains was disrupted in central Jharkhand for several hours on Friday after Maoists set afire a railway station and the engine of a goods train in Bokaro district late on Thursday night.
Nearly 60 Maoists, many of them women, attacked the Dumri Bihar railway station on the Gomoh-Barkakana section of East Central Railway (ECR) in Bokaro district at about 11:50 pm. Armed with rifles and bombs, the leftwing fighters forced the railway employees to leave the premises before setting the main station building afire.
“The rebels also set afire the engine of a goods train and left with valuable railway equipment. This damaged the signal and communication system of the railways on the route. They also snatched a walkie-talkie from an engine driver,” said Bokaro superintendent of police (Railway) Ashim Vikrant Minz. “The rebels had planned to trigger a blast. They had planted 40 can bombs, but the security personnel defused them,” he added.
Bokaro SP YS Ramesh said a team of the 26th battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Bokaro police reached the spot after learning of the incident and began a massive manhunt. A combing operation was on in the area on Friday, he added.
Several trains were stranded for hours while some others were diverted to separate routes, said railway officials. The Gomo-Barkakana passenger train, Ahmedabad-Howrah Express and Jabalpur-Howrah Shaktipunj Express were among trains that were stranded for hours, they added. Normal train services on the Gomoh-Barkakana section resumed at Friday noon after railway personnel restored the communication systems.
Handbills pasted by the Maoists on the walls of the station buildings and on stationary train coaches asked the Jharkhand government to cancel the MoUs signed with “capitalist forces” following the recent Momentum Jharkhand investors’ summit.
The Maoists have called for a statewide bandh on May 29 and the attack on the railway station, said police sources, aimed at creating an atmosphere of fear among the general public.