Maoists blast rail tracks, school in Jharkhand

Ranchi, Nov 29 ( Maoist guerrillas have blown up railway tracks at two places and a school building in Jharkhand and called for a two-day shutdown beginning Sunday, police said.

The incidents come ahead of the second phase of assembly polls in the state Dec 2.

The rebels blew up a rail track near Dania railway station in Ramgarh district late Saturday night. Around 10 trains services have been affected and their routes have been diverted, an official said.

In a separate incident, Maoists blasted a track near Bano railway station in Simdega district early Sunday morning, damaging about one metre of the line.

On Saturday night, Maoists blew up a school building in Pipara village of Palamau district. Detonators were used to blow up the building, police said. The rebels also blasted a community centre in the same village.

Maoists have blown up 10 school buildings this month. The rebels have been targeting schools as security forces camp there during elections.

The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) has called for a two-day strike beginning Sunday in Jharkhand, demanding that Maoist leader Ashok Mahto be produced either in court or before the media. Police, however, say Mahto has not been arrested.

Maoists claim he was held by the police two months back.

Maoist rebels have also asked people to boycott the five-phased assembly polls that end Dec 18.

In the second phase of elections Dec 2, polling will be held in 14 assembly constituencies, which are situated in Maoist strongholds.