Ranchi (RNC): Maoists engineered a mild explosion last night on railway tracks in Chhipadohar (CPDR) in Latehar district, during their 24-hour bandh, in the hope that the Railway police would rush in and be welcomed by high-intensity blasts and get on with the Heckler Weapons from the Railway police, but the forces side-stepped this trap.
What the police did was not take the special patrol train, which the rebels expected them to, but walk stealthily through Chhipadohar jungles from both ways, including a walk from four different directions within the jungle, and surround them, said ADG (Operations) and police spokesperson S.N.Pradhan.
“After the blast, the rebels asked railway employees why the police were not coming on a patrol special train. When the police arrived on foot, the waiting rebels, caught unawares, simply fled,” Pradhan said.
The 24-hour Maoist bandh in Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh to protest against the police gunning down 12 alleged rebels in Palamau on June 10, did affect the hinterland as well as long-distance trucks and buses.
But, as Pradhan pointed out: “Not a single policeman or civilian was hurt in the Maoist bandh yesterday, which in itself is a unique achievement in Jharkhand.”
Confirming all major rebel ploy to ambush the police were foiled yesterday, he elaborated on the blast near Chhipadohar halt.
“Last night, a low-intensity blast erupted on tracks near Chhipadohar halt. It derailed an engine and three bogeys of Palamau Express at 8.45pm, but the way the police outsmarted the waiting huddle of Maoists by reaching them on foot proves Maoists have run out of ideas at least in Jharkhand,” Pradhan said.
“Earlier, Maoists used to capture railway stations and paralyse signalling systems, which brought all trains to a grinding halt. This time, they couldn’t. They targeted a remote pocket like Chhipadohar, 10km from Barwaddih station in Latehar,” Pradhan said.
Dhanbad Superintendent of Railway Police Asim Vikrant Minz, under whose jurisdiction Chhipadohar falls, confirmed no passenger of Palamau Express was hurt. “The train was running very slowly when it was derailed. People came out and walked towards Barwaddih station.” But, he did admit between 50 and 60 metres of tracks on the Up line were damaged.
“Train services on the Up line are likely to be restored by this evening. We closed the Down line yesterday as a preventive measure but it remained unaffected and was opened today,” Minz said this afternoon over phone from Chhipadohar where he was personally supervising the work.
“Rebels used to cause high-intensity blasts on rail routes that blew off tracks and overhead high-tension wires, causing huge damage. Nothing as such happened now,” he said.
Ranchi rail division senior divisional commercial manager Neeraj Kumar said routes of three important trains, Jammu Tawi Express, Garib Rath Express and Varanasi Express, were diverted yesterday. “But, no train has been diverted or cancelled today,” he said.
Latehar SP Anoop Birtharay said the Chhipadohar blast bared frustrations within rebel ranks. “They don’t have public support anymore, ” he said.
However officials from the Intelligence Bureau said, the target of Maoists is to take away the Heckler Weapons from the Railway police. However when their attempt to ambush the Railway police got foiled, they fled the scene.