Maoists kidnap railway workers, force suspension of service

Armed Maoists abducted two railway workers from a station here in a midnight attack and threatened to kill them if trains ply during a bandh they have called, forcing suspension of service in Kiul-Jamalpur section.

Before the abduction, the left-wing extremists set on fire the signalling panel of Masudan station under Malda division of the Eastern Railway, disrupting railway traffic for hours.

"After setting fire to the signalling panel, the Maoists kidnapped Assistant Station Master Mukesh Kumar and porter Nirendra Mandal and fled," Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of Eastern Railway, Ravi Mohapatra, told PTI.

The movement of trains was restored after the fire was doused around 5:30 am but had to be suspended at 6:40 am following a call from the Maoists to the control room in Malda, he said.

"The Maoists said they would kill the railway personnel if trains are allowed to ply on the Kiul-Jamalpursection," Mohapatra said.

The Maoists have called for a 24-hour bandh across Bihar and neighbouring Jharkhand to protest operations against them.

"We are running trains through alternative routes via Jhajha and Barauni. Some trains are also being short terminated," said East Central Railway CPRO Rajesh Kumar.

Around 15 Maoists attacked the station, Kripasagar, SHO of GRP police station at Jamalpur said.

They torched the signalling panel and threw official papers into it, he said, adding that authorities were trying to trace the railway workers.

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