At least three youths were killed and six other injured, a railway station blasted, rail tracks uprooted at two places and a school building was blown up in four separate incidents in Jharkhand on Sunday, as the Maoists stepped-up violence on the first day of their two-day Jharkhand bandh call beginning from the midnight of November 28-29.
The bandh call has been given just three day ahead of the second phase of polling in the state, as a part of the strategy to disrupt the ongoing election processes. Jharkhand goes to the second phase of polling on December 2, when elections will be held in altogether 14 constituencies.
The Maoists gave the bandh call to demand immediate production of its South Chhotanagpur Zonal Committee leader Ashok Mahto either before media or in a court. The Maoists say, Mahto was arrested five days back by the Ranchi police but he was not produced before the court.
Three youths were killed and five other injured in a landmine explosion at Amjore village under Patamada police station of East Singhbhum district, about 145 km south from the state capital, this afternoon after a heavily armed group of para-military forces asked some local youths to remove a trunk of tree from the road to clear their way. As soon as the youths, who were returning home after playing a football match, tried to remove the tree trunk, a landmine exploded killing three of them on the spot. Five seriously injured were later rushed to nearby hospital at Jamshedpur, about 130 km south from the state capital. The landmine was planned by the Maoists apparently to kill the paramilitary forces. But the forces, sensing trouble ahead, cleverly engaged the local youths for removal of the tree trunk.
In another incident that took place in the wee hours, the Maoists blew up Mahuabuang railway station and rail track in Simdega district, about 250 km southwest from the state capital, disrupting operation of trains on the busy Ranchi-Rourkela section of the South Eastern railway for the whole day on Sunday. Several trains remained stranded at different station in the section due to uprooting of the track.
Prior to Mahuabuang incident, the Maoists blew up rail track in between Jageshwar Vihar and Daniya railway station on the Gomoh- Barkakana section of the South East Railway, disrupting movement of both passenger and goods trains. The Maoists also smashed away electric wire of several poles in between the Jageshwar Vihar and Daniya station in order to paralyse movement of trains.
Movement of trains in major parts of the state remained paralysed throughout the day on Sunday due to the uprooting of tracks at the two places.
Besides targeting railways, the Maoists also blasted a school building in Palamu district’s Pipra village, about 250 km northwest from the capital, in order to enforce the bandh call.
The call evoked complete response in rural areas and district towns as no private buses, trucks and taxis plied on the roads in any parts of the state, except the capital and some town areas.
The State Police Spokesman V H Deshmukh said, additional forces had been rushed to Patamada area where landmines blast occurred.