Maoists detain train by hanging bomb in engine

Jamshedpur: Maoists detained a passenger train in Jharkand`s West Singhbhum district for nearly 20 minutes with a one-kg can bomb hung from the front of its engine, ahead of the `Bharat bandh` called by the ultras tomorrow, police said today.

The Tata-Bilaspur Passenger train, which was detained at Posaita station last night at around 9.50 PM, ran for another 15 km with the can bomb dangling from the engine to Manoharpur station where it was removed and defused, SP A K Singh said. Earlier, as soon as the train entered Posaita station, a group of 12 armed Maoists boarded it and began pasting posters in the compartments with passengers panicking, but the ultras did not harm them, Singh said.

They slung the can bomb in a bag in front of the engine as also a banner in support of the `Bharat bandh`. The train which was scheduled to stop for two minutes at the station was detained for 20 minutes, before the Maoists left. The passengers of Tata-Bilaspur train were disembarked at the Manoharpur station and accommodated in the Howrah-Kurla Express, he said.

Suspecting the detention of the train to be the handiwork of the Habil Charwa and Sandip squad of the Maoists, a quick response team of CRPF launched a massive hunt and came across the ultras at Saranda forest near Salai village this morning, Singh said. An encounter lasting 45 minutes followed before the ultras fled, the SP said, adding there was no casualty on the police side. A combing operation is underway.

Earlier last night, the Maoists beheaded a villager Ramlal Kayam at Kudaburu under Sonua police station dubbing him a police informer, Singh said. The Maoists left behind posters warning villagers against helping the police. The Officer-in-charge of Sonua police station, Suraj Oraon denied that Kayam was a police informer. A South Eastern Railway release said in Kolkata that "no attempt was made to hijack the train and train services on the section were unaffected".

It said that disembarked passengers were accommodated in the Shalimar-LTT Express which was running behind the passenger train. The statement said it was decided to deploy additional security forces, keep ready patrol specials at various places and run pilot engines ahead of mail and goods trains following the incident. The SER also intensified security measures in view of tommorrow`s shutdown called by the Maoists.