Reds blow up govt buildings, railway tracks in Jharkhand

RANCHI/GUMLA/DALTONGANJ: Chain of Maoist attacks, which started late on Saturday night, mostly targeted police stations and government buildings in different parts of the state. The two-day bandh called by the rebels to protest against the killing of 10 of their cadres on March 28 in Chatra will end on Sunday.

The Maoist attack began around 10pm on Saturday with a landmine blast that destroyed 10-15 m railway track between Barwadeeh and Chhipadohar and disrupted train services on Coal India Chord section in Latehar.

Exactly one-and-a-half hours later, twin blasts shook Harihurganj, about 70 km from Palamu district headquarters. This time, the rebels targeted the BDO office and a godown that stored foodgrain and used cylinder bombs, said Palamu SP Anoop T Mathew.

“The blasts caused fire that gutted official documents,” Mathew said, adding that security forces were on guard in front of the BDO’s quarter in Harihurganj block.

In Gumla, the Red rebels targeted Chainpur police station around midnight. However, they retreated when police personnel retaliated on time. But the Maoists damaged the BDO office here before fleeing into the nearby forest around 1.30 am.

Police sources said Maoists blew up the block office, around 50 km from the district headquarters and just 500 m from the local police station, and set other assets on fire.

This is the second major attack by Maoists three days after they gunned down five police personnel in Chainpur. A police officer, on condition of anonymity, told that after Saturday’s attack the jawans’ morale has gone down. “There are only 60 JAP jawans and only one inspector rank officer in the police station to take on the rebels,” said the source.”Around 250-300 Maoists encircled Chainpur police station from all corners around 1.30 am on Sunday and started firing. Maoists are known to have hurled over 100 grenades and fired from 100-m distance. They were also abusing police and were asking for surrender. The rebels who might have used trucks and bikes to reach Safi river near Chainpur were also raising slogans intermittently during the encounter,” said a source.

“Police retaliated with 2,200 rounds during the encounter which lasted till 4.15 am,” said police inspector TN Singh.

In Giridih, police defused a bomb planted by the rebels on a railway track between Chebro and Choudharybag on Sunday morning, said Giridih SP A V Homkar.

However, no casualty was reported from any part of the state in the attacks during the bandh, which is part of the protest week observed by the rebel outfit.

Meanwhile, DGP Rajiv Kumar, CRPF IG MV Rao and IG MS Bhatiya reached Chainpur to take stock of situation arising out of the Maoists fresh attack.