Three persons, including a policeman, were killed and another was injured early on Sunday as violence marked the 24-hour bandh called by the proscribed CPI (Maoist) in Bihar to protest the arrest of their leaders.
Hundreds of heavily armed ultras set ablaze six trucks and two buses on the Grand Trunk Road around 1.30 am and seven trucks at another place in Gaya district, police sources said.
When a Special Auxiliary Police contingent reached the spot on GT Road, an encounter ensued in which a policeman, Shanker Singh, was killed. A private bus driver, Kameswar Rai and the helper of the bus, Surajdeo Yadav died in the cross-firing, the sources said.
Another injured truck driver Satynarain Yadav was hospitalised in Gaya where his condition was stated to be critical.
The naxalites took some passengers of a bus hostage while retreating, but later released them, the sources said.
The ultras also blew up a 50-metre stretch of railway tracks at Pahleja on the Mughalsrai-Gaya section of the East Central
Railway in neighbouring Rohtas district, disrupting movement of trains for over five hours, railway sources said.
A five kg can bomb was seized from the spot, they said. Railway Protection Force were camping at the spot. National highways in Maoist stronghold areas in Gaya, Aurangabad and Rohtas districts were deserted as private bus and trucks stayed off the roads.
The Maoists called the bandh in Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to protest the recent arrest of its top leaders including its chief of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand and north Bihar, Tushar Kant Bhattacharya.