Naxals HOLD train hostage
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Naxals HOLD train hostage

NAXALITES ON Monday night captured a train carrying more than 100 passengers, looted them and beat up the driver near Hedegada station in Jharkhand?s Latehar district, police intelligence sources said.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2006 13:11 IST

NAXALITES ON Monday night captured a train carrying more than 100 passengers, looted them and beat up the driver near Hedegada station in Jharkhand’s Latehar district, police intelligence sources said.

The Naxalites of CPI (Maoist) also beat up the passengers of the train, which was heading from Barkakhana to Mughalsarai, and snatched the walkie talkie of the guard, the sources said.

Inspector General of Police GC Verma said the train was taken over by the Naxalites at around 7.30 pm in retaliation to the killing of one of their comrades in police encounter on March 3.

The incident took place in the midst of a bandh on Monday called by the Naxalites in Palamu division, which covers Latehar district, he said.

The Barkakhana-Dehri-Mugalsarai 628 Down passenger train was found stranded at Auntikheda, 12 km from Hehegarah station at around 9.30 pm. The train had left for Kumandih from Hehegarah at around 7.05 pm. Police suspect the train had been taken over by the Naxalites and they had laid a trap by putting off all the lights in the train.

Railway officials panicked when their Kumandih staff at around 8.15 pm reported that the train had not yet reached the station. It usually takes less than half an hour to cover the 24 km distance. Following a frantic search, the train was located near pole number 234/11 at Auntikheda at around 9.30 pm.

Confirming the incident, Latehar SP Subodh Prasad said the lights of the engine as well as all the bogies had been put off. All the attempts to contact driver A Munda, assistant driver NK Roy and guard K Oraon on their walkie talkies had failed.

“Their walkie talkies simply failed to respond,” said the SP. Police apprehend the Naxalites must have held all those on board hostage and laid a trap for the police.

The SP said there might be at least 100 passengers on board. He said the police were coordinating with the railway officials to ascertain the facts. The SP added that the Naxalites must have boarded the train at Auntikheda, where the train unofficially halts everyday.

Railways officials, refusing to be quoted, said there were confirmed reports of heavy stone-pelting on the train. DRM AK Shukla said movement of trains between Garhwa Road and Rai station and the CIC section had been stopped.

He said the situation would be reviewed on Tuesday at a high-level meeting of the railway officials in Dhanbad at 6 am. RPF posts in-charge at Barwadih and Latehar stations Babar Ali Khan and O.N Prasad were waiting with approximately 70 men at disposal for marching orders.

Talking to the HT well past midnight, the SP said a counter ambush operation was being planned with CRPF, RSPF and district police forces. Refusing to give details of the plan, he said the operation might be launched before the break of dawn.

Earlier in the day in another incident, the police and the Naxalites exchanged fire near Chetar station on the CIC section.

The Naxalites, in the wake of police firing, retreated into the forest towards Lohardaga. The Naxailites had given a bandh call in Palamu to protest the fake encounter death of their zonal commander Jagannath Koeri.

1 Naxalites captured train in Latehar district of Jharkhand

2 Naxalites laid a trap by putting off the lights in the train

3 Over 100 passengers on board

4 Driver beaten up

Ordinance to curb Naxal menace gets assent
PRESIDENT A P J Abdul Kalam has given assent to an ordinance to control the increasing Naxalite menace in Chhattisgarh. “The President has given his assent to the Chhattisgarh Vishesh Jan Surakshya Adhiniyam Vidheyak 2005,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Bijay Kishore Sunder Ray told PTI on Monday. The legislation got Presidential assent on March 7.

First Published: Mar 14, 2006 13:11 IST