The Maoists have urged people not to board trains on the two days of their Bharat Bandh on Wednesday and Thursday to protest the killing of their leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad by the Andhra Pradesh Police in an alleged fake encounter on July 1.
CPI(Maoist) politburo member and spokesperson Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji said in a recorded message to the media “this time we will not allow the railways to function smoothly”.
“We request you not to board trains on these two days (July 7 and 8). We are sorry for the inconvenience caused,” Kishenji said in the statement.
The ‘request’ assumes importance in the backdrop of the derailment of the Jnaneswari Express by suspected Maoists in West Bengal on May 28 in which 148 passengers were killed.
Maoists are capable of damaging tracks in seven states where they dominate certain areas — West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
A senior railway officer said on the phone from New Delhi, “We have alerted all the concerned authorities and are chalking out special safety measure for these two days. The railway services cannot come to a standstill but we would also have to ensure public security.”