Maoists target Rajdhani, kill cop, trigger blast

Maoists target Rajdhani, kill cop, trigger blast

Maoists target Rajdhani, kill cop, trigger blast

As their 48-hour bandh entered the second day today, the Maoists stepped up violence leading to disruption of rail services and cancellation of several trains. There was no casualty or injury in the incident involving Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express late last night.

A policeman was gunned down by the Maoists in Jharkhand's Sareikela-Kharsawan district after they fired indiscriminately on a police patrolling team near Chouka police station around 1.30 am. He was identified as Kalicharan Bodra. Suspected Naxalites also abducted four traders in Bokaro district.

A major disaster involving the Rajdhani Express was averted since the prestigious train was travelling at a slow speed when ten of its coaches and the engine jumped off the tracks near Gaya station following an explosion triggered by Maoists. The accident took place late last night between Kasta and Paraiya stations under Gaya-Mughalsarai section of the East Central Railway, the police said.

"The train's speed was 75 km per hour and that is why a big disaster could be avoided," train driver R K Singh said, adding that he applied the brakes immedaitely after seeing red flag on the rail track. An eyewitness said the alertness of the driver prevented a "major mishap".

Rail traffic was disrupted in the section since midnight last night as cranes were engaged to remove the affected bogies, railway sources said. Passengers were taken to Mughalsarai by a rescue train from where a special train was arranged to send them to New Delhi, they said.

The explosive planted in the tracks between Kasta and Paraiya stations went off shortly after the train left Gaya station, district Superintendent of Police Sushil Khopde said, adding a medical team with rescue train was sent to the spot. There was no casualty or serious injury, Khopde said, adding none of the derailed bogies fell on its side which possibly was the reason why no casualty took place.

The Maoists are observing the shutdown in Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and three districts of Maharashtra to protest against the stepped up anti-naxal operations, price rise and arrests of some of their cadres. Train services in the Mumbai-Howrah route in Orissa were suspended following two explosions triggered by the Maoists near Rourkela.

A goods train which was passing that way got derailed after the blasts at a place between Birsa and Bongomunda stations in the wee hours, railway officials said. Preliminary reports have suggested that there were no injuries or causalities in the incident.