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Maoists blast railway track to enforce Bihar shutdown

Maoists blast railway track to enforce Bihar shutdown

Patna: Maoists blew up a railway track in Bihar's Gaya district to enforce a day-long strike called by them to protest the killing of two of their top-ranking leaders by a rival Maoist outfit, a railway official said Saturday.

Two Maoist leaders were killed by the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), a rival group of the Maoists, after they were abducted from Kothi village in Gaya last Tuesday.

"Maoists blew up a track between Taraiya and Guraru railway stations in Gaya late Friday night," said ECR's Chief Public Relations Officer Amitabh Prabhakar.

The incident took place at about 10.55 p.m. "barely 20 minutes after the pilot engine of the Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani train crossed the area on the Gaya-Mugalsari route of East Central Railway (ECR) to create fear among people", added Prabhakar.

He said the incident disrupted rail traffic on the route for few hours, but after repair work, normal traffic resumed early Saturday morning. Prabhakar said there were no reports of casualties in the incident.

According to him, railways had decided to run pilot engines ahead of trains following the 2003 accident of the Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani in Maoist-affected Aurangabad district in Bihar which left over a 100 people dead.

The Maoist strike evoked a mixed response in Bihar, as urban areas remained unaffected but normal life was hit in many villages.

"Life in parts of rural Bihar was badly hit during Maoist called shutdown," an official at the police headquarters here said.

The strike evoked no response in cities and towns like Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur and Purnea. However, rural areas in districts like Patna, Aurangabad, Gaya, Jamui, Jehanabad, Arwal and Banka, considered Maoist strongholds, saw daily life disrupted.

"Fear of Maoist violence forced closure of markets in rural areas and vehicles remained off the roads," the official said.


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