Three killed as Maoists attack train in Bihar

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Security personnel walk on the railway tracks where suspected Moists attacked the Dhanbad-Patna Intercity Express near Kundhar halt in Jamui district of Bihar on Thursday. PTI Photo
Security personnel walk on the railway tracks where suspected Moists attacked the Dhanbad-Patna Intercity Express near Kundhar halt in Jamui district of Bihar on Thursday. PTI Photo

Around 150 armed Maoists today carried out an attack on a Patna-bound train, killing three persons, including an RPF jawan, and injuring five others in Bihar’s Naxal-affected Jamui district.

Police and railway officials said RPF jawan Sukhnath D Singh and a passenger were killed in the attack while Kumar Amit, a Patna-based Bihar police sub-inspector, was found dead in an AC coach when the Dhanbad-Patna Inter-City Express reached Keul at Lakhisarai, ECR Chief Public Relation Officer (CPRO) Amitabh Prabhakar and Lakhisarai DSP Vijay Prasad said.

Five persons, identified as KP Singh (train guard), Manoj Kumar Singh (railway employee at Jamalpur), Dharmendra Sah (Lakhisarai), PK Tripathi (Patna) and Satish Kumar (Muzaffarpur) suffered injuries and were given treatment at Keul station, Prabhakar said adding that Manoj Kumar Singh’s condition was stated to be serious.

As per preliminary information, around 150 armed cadres of the banned CPI-Maoist party attacked the Dhanbad-Patna Intercity Express train, which had left Dhanbad city at 8:00 am in the morning, headed for Patna.

“When the train was about to pull out of Kendra halt, the Naxals attacked the train. An employee of a nationalised bank called us from the train’s toilet and informed us. We immediately mobilised CRPF personnel from the Malaypur and Barhat camps and they engaged the Maoists, who retreated into the forests,” said Shashikant Tiwari, Jamui District Magistrate.

Tiwari said that there was no prior intelligence report of a possible attack on a train or an attack in the area.

After the hour-long siege and the counter by the CRPF personnel, the train was escorted to Kiul station in neighbouring Lakhisarai district, where district officials were waiting with ambulance and other emergency vehicles.

“One unidentified passenger in coach no S2 died in the gunfire and a RPF jawan Shukla Debnath was killed during the exchange with the Maoists. The Maoists have retreated into the forests and the CRPF personnel have started a combing operation to hunt them out,” said Bihar Deputy Inspector General (rail) SK Anupam, adding that the Maoists had managed to seize two SLR weapons from the RPF personnel who were on board.

Sources said that the Maoist guerillas were from the Chalho zone, which includes Jamui and Gaya districts of Bihar and Chatra and Palamu districts of Jharkhand.

The last major attack by the Maoists was in Chhattisgarh district on 25 May, in which several state-level Congress leaders including their district president Nand Kumar Patel were killed. Former Union Minister VC Shukla succumbed to wounds received later in a hospital.

This is the largest such attack on a train since the Howrah – Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Jnaneswari Super Deluxe Express incident in May 2010. In the incident, the Maoists claimed responsibility for blowing up a section of railway tracks near Jhargram in West Mednipore district of West Bengal, derailing the train and causing 141 deaths and injuries to nearly 200 people.

The last major attack by the Maoist guerillas of Jamui district was on a police van in Giridih town of neighbouring Jharkhand. The extremists fired upon the vehicle to free several incarcerated ‘hardcore’ Maoists who were returning from court. Two police personnel, a prisoner and the van’s driver were killed and eight hardcore extremists escaped.

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