Led by a group of women, more than 100 rebels hurled crude bombs and fired indiscriminately on the train, killing railway protection force (RPF) constable Sukant Deonath, Patna police SI Kumar Amit and Sarwar Islam, an employee of a private firm.
The attack comes at a time when the Centre and states have hardened their stance and are talking surgical strikes against the Maoists. It follows the May 25 attack on a Congress convoy in Bastar that killed 28 people.
“The motive of the attack was apparently to loot weapons from the RPF personnel. Passengers were not the target,” DIG (rail) KS Anupam said. The Maoists took away an AK-47 assault rifle and an Insas rifle from the five-member RPF escort party.
Fours later, some 70 Maoists attacked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) CoBRA patrol in Sherghati block of Gaya district. A jawan was injured in the gunfight that continued for 30 minutes, Rajesh Kumar, DSP, Sherghati, said.