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'Maoists had been trying to blast trains earlier'

November 20, 2009 15:32 IST

The train accident, which killed two and injured 55 others, was culmination of series of similar attempts by the Maoists in the past that were foiled, the police said.

Eight bogies of Tata-Bilaspur passenger train derailed in Jharkhand's Chaibasa on Thursday night.

"The Maoists had attempted to target passenger trains many times in the past. The police have found explosives from tracks several times," said Deputy Inspector General (Chhotonagpur range) R K Mallik.

Only a fortnight ago at Simdega, the police found a bomb planted under railway tracks forcing the authorities to detain Puri-Hatia Tapaswini Express at Bano for hours.

The Maoists twice laid siege on passenger trains in the past in Jharkhand. They took over the trains in Latehar in 2006 and in April this year before letting off the passengers unharmed.

In neighbouring West Bengal, a Maoist-backed tribal organisation had laid siege on the Rajdhani Express for about seven hours in West Midnapore district last month.

"But after Thursday's incident, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is no more than a killer outfit," observed Kartik Kumar, one of the lucky passenger to have escaped unhurt in yesterday's derailment.

"We heard a loud explosion and two bogies attached to the engine were tossed in the air while six other coaches got derailed," said the guard of the train, K D Rao, who immediately called the nearest railway control room.

"Soon after the blast, it was pitch dark amid wails and shouts. The passengers jumped out from bogies and started helping each other before the official help came several hours later," he added.

Besides the guard, train driver G Lakra and assistant driver Pramod Mishra escaped unhurt in the incident that took place ahead of the five-phase polls in Jharkhand due to begin on November 25.

In the run-up to the polls, the Maoists have blown up several schools and community halls in villages to prevent the security forces from taking shelter there for anti-Naxal operations.
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