Maoists abduct, release three gatemen in Bihar; 25 trains delayed

Maoists abduct, release three gatemen in Bihar; 25 trains delayed

Maoist rebels kidnapped three strong janitors at railway crossings in Bihar, altering the movement of trains for nearly seven hours in the Patna-Howrah section, officials announced Thursday.

The movement of about 25 trains was halted until the road reopened at 7 am Thursday, a high-powered HT train said.

The three railroad workers, who retired after midnight, were released at 2 am after security forces launched an operation in Lakhisarai, one of Bihar’s 15 districts affected by the Maoist insurgency.

Sources said rebels kidnapped railroad employees for defying a week-long ruling from the martrers observed by the banned CPI (Maoist) and its army, the PLGA, July 28, the anniversary of the death Of Charu Mazumdar who is considered the father of the revolt left in India.

About 100 rebels were involved in the hijacking of crosses less than 10 kilometers away, said SM Khopde, inspector general of the Bhagalpur area. The rebels also threatened the driver and caretaker of a passenger train.

Following the abduction, several trains – including Howrah-Amritsar Punjab – were stopped at different locations until the road is clear in the morning.

“All railroad employees have been released and are safe,” said Rajesh Kumar, the spokesman for Eastern HT Railways.

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The extraction area, about 180 km from the city of Patna, is located along the border with Jharkhand, one of the most unusual Indian states, the most affected.

Police sources said security forces, including the anti-Maoist force, CoBRA – CRPF – launched operations in the Gopalpur forest, leading to a brief exchange of gunfire.
The rebels, however, managed to escape deep into the jungles under the cover of darkness.

The deputy director general of the police (barracks) Sanjiv Kumar Singhal said that all possible routes used by the Maoists to move were sealed to catch the rebels.

Sources said a mobile tower operated by a private company was also burned. The rebels often turn to infrastructure.

The incident came hours after the government informed Parliament that incidents of violence by the Maoists – officially called the far left – have steadily declined in the past five years.

In a written response, Minister of State in the country Hansraj Gangaram Ahir Rajya Sabha reported that 1,048 Maoist attacks were reported in 2016, compared to 1089 incidents in 2015.

He said that 213 civilians and 65 security personnel died in Maoist attacks in 2016 compared to the killing of 171 civilians and 59 security agents in 2015.

The Maoists profess to fight for the emancipation of the poor and oppressed, but the government says that most of the rebel outfits were mainly involved in kidnapping for ransom.

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