Though the 48-hour bandh called by the CPI (Maoist) evoked partial response in Bihar, the neighbouring Jharkhand could not escape the naxal ire. In Jharkhand, the passengers on board the Ranchi-New Delhi Rajdhani Express had a lucky escape, as the train moved past Latehar, about 150 kms from Ranchi, barely an hour before the Maoists blew up the tracks.
Train services remained disrupted on Barwadih-Barkakana route for hours following the explosion. Several trains had to be diverted.
The bandh has been called by the Maoists in protest against alleged arrest two of their senior cadres – Karthik and Anil – from Patna. The police, however, denied any such arrest. In the recent past, several senior Maoist leaders have been arrested from different parts of the State.
ADG (Headquarters) Neelmani said there was no untoward incident reported from any part of the State. “Strict vigil is being maintained on railway platforms, bus stands and other public places as a precautionary measure. Trains are being escorted by the police,” he added.
He said all the superintendents of police (SPs) have been asked to remain extra vigilant during the bandh. “As railways have been the soft target of the Maoists in the past, we have taken extra precautions this time to ward off any untoward incident,” the ADG said.
High alert has been sounded and a strict vigil is being maintained in the bordering areas of Jharkhand, UP and West Bengal in the wake of 48-hour bandh.
In Jharkhand, the Maoists also bombed a mobile tower in Palamu district. About 50-armed Naxalites reached the site of the tower situated on Aurangabad-Medininagar route in the district, stuffed explosives before blowing it up, Deputy Superintendent of Police Brajmohan Paswan, said. The blast left a big crater on the spot, about 200 km from Ranchi, he added.
In view of the bandh, the police headquarters has directed zonal IGs and range DIGs to monitor the situation in Bihar. “Besides, personnel of the Special Task Force and the Central Reserve Police have been engaged in carrying out intensive raids on different hideouts of the Maoists,” Neelamni said.
Referring to the Jamui incident on Saturday evening in which five policemen, including four Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) personnel, were killed, Neelmani said that two squads had participated in the attack. “They all have been identified and intensive raids were on in the bordering areas of Bihar and Jharkhand to nab them,” he said.
The police have intensified patrolling on the national highways passing through the state. “Instructions have been given to the station house officers to keep an eye on mobile towers, which have increasingly been attacked by the Maoists in recent times,” the ADG said.
As per figures available at the state police headquarters, 14 mobile towers of BSNL, Airtel and Reliance telecommunications were blown up in Naxal affected Aurangabad, Gaya, Arwal and Rohtas districts last year. Till July five such incidents have been reported.