Patna, Sep 23: At least two people, including a SAP jawan, were gunned down, four injured and 13 trucks set afire by Maoist guerillas in the state since last night, as the 24-hour bandh called by them in Bihar, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh began on a violent note this morning.
Official reports from different Maoist-dominated districts said in one of the most violent incidents, a group of about 50 heavily armed Maoist guerillas attacked a police patrol jeep on National Highway two near Telachow village in Gaya district of South Bihar early today and killed the Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) jawan Shankar Singh on the spot. However, none else was injured in the shootout which continued for about half an hour.
Earlier, the extremists stopped five trucks on the same highway and torched them after asking the drivers to get down from their vehicles. They also opened fire on the hapless truck drivers killing one of them on the spot and severely injuring four others who were later admitted to a nearby hospital.
In a seperate incident on the Grand Trunk road near the 71 mile area of Gaya district, another group of about 40 heavily armed Maoist guerillas intercepted eight trucks and set them afire after asking the drivers to disembark. Though in this case, the drivers were not attacked, unconfirmed reports stated that some of them might have been abducted by the guerillas.
The CPI-Maoist sponsored 24-hour bandh, which began in three states from 0600 hours today to protest the arrest of three of their senior comrades in Jharkhand a few days ago, also affected the train services in Bihar to a great extent.In another major incident, the underground guerillas damaged a portion of the railway tracks by triggering a powerful bomb blast near Paleja station on the Mughalsarai-Dehri-on-Sone section of the East Central Railways (ECR) early today. Consequently, train services on the Howrah-Delhi main cord line had been severely affected besides causing delays of several trains.
Following the blast, 2321 up Howrah-Mumbai Mail, 3009 up Dehradun Express and 2307 up Jodhpur Express were detained for sometime in different stations before resuming their journey through diverted routes, ECR sources here said adding that senior railway and police officials had already reached the spot and all out efforts were being made to repair the tracks and restore services at the earliest.
Meanwhile, police recovered a crude bomb from near the tracks in another place in the extremist-affected Rohtas district in south Bihar. However, barring these incidents, the bandh had no effect in the state, including the capital city of Patna or in any of the North Bihar districts so far where all shops and markets remained open and vehicles plied normally.
Reports from some of the Maoist-dominated districts in South Bihar, including Gaya, Jehanabad and Aurangabad, stated that partial response to the bandh was registered with the overall situation remaining peaceful so far.