PATNA: The 24-hour bandh called by the CPI (Maoist) in Bihar, Jharkhand to protest the arrests of top naxal leaders, Pramod Kumar Mishra (in Dhanbad) and Ramparvesh Baitha (in Golghar) was marked by stray violence and factional killings. The bandh began on Wednesday night.
Maoists blasted a railway track in Bihar’s West Champaran district and killed two rebels on the Bihar-Jharkhand border on Wednesday night.
As a portion of the Sitamarhi-Narkatiaganj section of the East Central Railway was damaged, traffic was affected.
The rebels were killed on the Bihar-Jharkhand border in Aurangabad district. Since the bodies were recovered on the other side of the border the Jharkhand police have taken possession of them.
3 women cadres held
Important trains were running with pilot engines for the safety of passengers and East Central Railway announced cancellation or diversion of routes of several trains because of the bandh.
Three women naxalite cadres were arrested following an encounter with Maoists in Chatra, Jharkhand as the bandh affected normal life in rural areas in some districts.
A ‘firing squad’ of the CPI (Maoist) confronted security forces around 10 a.m. at Gheighat village in Chatra district and both sides traded fire for half an hour, Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Kumar Jha said.
“Some Maoists fled the area following the strong retaliatory action, but three women extremists of the firing squad were overpowered and apprehended along with two rifles, 42 bullets and Rs. 10,000 in cash,” Mr. Jha told newsmen.
Rural areas hit
Though the bandh remained peaceful its impact was felt in the rural areas of Chatra, Hazaribag, Gumla, Simdega, Latehar, Palamu, East and West Singhbhum where shops were closed and vehicles did not ply, according to reports.
Long distance buses also remained off the road while the bandh affected despatch work at several collieries and other mining sector.
Superintendent of Police, Hazaribag, Praveen Kumar Singh said police operated a couple of vehicles to help commuters at Keridari and Barkagaon in the district.
The security forces patrolled vital installations, including railway tracks, according to police sources in Ranchi.