Maoist rebels triggered a powerful blast on railway tracks close to Latehar station on Monday, derailing a coal-laden goods train that left one person injured, police said, days after security forces launched a crackdown in the region.
Members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoists) carried out the attack with an improvised explosive device (IED) near Hensala village in Latehar district, about 100 km northwest of capital Ranchi.
Video: Goods train derails after maoists blast track in Jharkhand
The tracks are part of the Coal India Chord (CIC) section of Dhanbad rail division of the East Central Railway (ECR).
The explosion could be heard even 5 km away. At least 24 bogies, including the engine of the goods train were derailed. The driver and his assistant, who were briefly held by the rebels, escaped with minor injuries.
“We saw a crater caused by the IED explosion and put dead breaks to stop the train. We are fortunate to have escaped death first in the train mishap and then in the clutches of the Maoists,” Kamlesh Kumar, the driver, said.
The attack disrupted rail traffic on the route, with many trains getting either stranded at different stations or being diverted to other routes. A joint team of local police and the CRPF led by the Latehar superintendent of police Michael Raj is also camping at the site.
The attack comes days after security forces launched a massive operation in Latehar to flush out the rebels. Intelligence agencies have warned of a Maoist backlash.
Monday’s attack is reported to have been carried out by 20-25 insurgents. They left behind scores of pamphlets denouncing the capitalistic policies of the government and terming them as anti-poor.
They also warned against undertaking any repair work on the tracks, saying the entire area had been strewn with IEDs.