New Delhi/Jamui: At least one Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel has been killed in a daring Naxal attack on the Dhanbad-Patna Intercity Express near Kundhar halt in Jamui district of Bihar on Thursday afternoon. Around 100 Naxals attacked and fired at the train in a bid to loot weapons from the RPF personnel escorting the train.
The attack took place at around 1 pm between Jamui and Bhalui stations near Kundhar halt and firing continued for 15-20 minutes. They also injured the guard and managed to loot three self-loading rifles belonging to the security men.
Police officials confirmed that the motive of the attack was to loot weapons from five RPF personnel, who were on board the train. “The motive of the attack was to loot weapons from RPF personnel. Passengers of the train were not their (Naxals) target,” said SP Railway Jamalpur Amitabh Kumar Das.
Das confirmed that no passenger had been injured in the incident. He, however, said that the driver of the train has received a bullet injury and is in a critical condition. “All passengers are safe. The firing has also stopped. The driver of the train was shot at in the incident. The medical team is on its way. We are hopeful of saving the driver,” added Das.
Later officials clarified that it was not the driver but the guard who was injured in the firing.
Jamui Station Master Ranjeet Kumar said there were 400-500 passengers in the train. The area of the attack is a stronghold of the CPI(Maoist).
Following the incident, all trains between Howrah and Delhi were halted.
Calling the incident “unfortunate”, MoS Home Affairs RPN Singh said: “The attack shows the frustration of Naxals because their sources for arms and ammunition have dried up. It is unfortunate that Naxals have now started targeting innocent civilians.” Singh assured that the government will take all measures to fight Naxals.
Confirming the incident, Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal said: “Medical facilities have been provided at Kiul station where the train will stop. All those on board the train will be examined and those in need to medical care will be provided all the facilities.”
Railway officials said that the train had only five RPF personnel on the train as usually the Naxals attack during the evening, early morning or night to take advantage of the cover of darkness. So trains passing through Naxal-hit areas in the night have more security cover.
The audacious attack comes less than three week after a major Naxal strike in Chhattisgarh on May 25 in which the rebels wiped out the entire state Congress leadership.