Patna: Rampaging Maoists raided a railway station, kidnapped two railways’ staff and set afire a mobile tower in Bihar and Jharkhand late Tuesday night as part of the 24-hour shutdown called to protest the ongoing operation against them by the security forces. The rebels have threatened to kill the abducted staff if the movement of trains continued during the shutdown.
Authorities said a large number of rebels raided the Masudan railway station in Bihar’s Munger district past midnight and set afire the signalling panel, disrupting the railway traffic for several hours. They also burnt official documents. Before fleeing the scene the rebels also abducted the station master and a porter. Witnesses said the female squad of the Maoists had led the operation.
“They were armed with sophisticated weapons and went on the rampage soon after entering the station. We somehow managed to save ourselves,” an eyewitness Bhola Prasad Yadav told the local media on Wednesday.
Reports said soon after fleeing the scene, a Maoist called up a senior railway official at Malda in West Bengal and advised him to suspend train services during the shutdown, failing which the abducted staff would killed. The threat has led to disruption of train services in the Malda division of the eastern railways.
“After setting fire to the signalling panel, the Maoists kidnapped Assistant Station Master Mukesh Kumar and porter Nirendra Mandal and fled,” Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of Eastern Railway, Ravi Mohapatra told the media today.
Meanwhile, the police have launched a massive combing operation in the areas to rescue the abducted railway staff.
In another incident, the rebels abducted a village council head in Lakhisarai district and shot him dead. They later threw his body in the nearby forest before fleeing the scene. The victim has been identified as Birendra Kodo.
The impact of the shutdown was also seen in the neighbouring Jharkhand. In Giridih district, the rebels torched a mobile tower. Elsewhere in the state, normal life was badly affected due to the shutdown as most of the buses did not ply on the roads.