Maoists blast rail tracks, school, to enforce Jharkhand shutdown (Lead)

Ranchi, Nov 29 ( Maoist guerrillas in Jharkhand blew up rail tracks in two places, blasted a railway station building and a school building and set off another explosion injuring four people as they enforced a two-day shutdown from Sunday in the state ahead of the assembly polls.

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

The rebels blew up a rail track near Dania railway station in Ramgarh district late Saturday night. Train services were affected on the route, an official said.

In a separate incident, Maoists blasted a track near Bano railway station and the Mahuabang railway station building in Simdega district early Sunday morning. About two metres of the rail line was damaged and a railway employee injured.

Four civilians were injured in a blast near Beram village of East Singhbhum district.

“Maoist rebels had blocked the road by felling trees. An auto-rickshaw passing on the road was forced to stop. When the driver tried to remove the tree, it set off a booby trap explosion in which four civilians were injured,” V.H. Deshmukh, Jharkhand police spokesperson, told Inditop.

On Saturday night, Maoists blew up a school building in Pipara village of Palamau district using detonators, police said. The rebels also blasted a community centre in the same village.

Rebels have blown up 10 school buildings this month. They are targeting schools as security forces are camping there for the 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.

“We have verified from the district police and Ashok Mahto has not been arrested,” said Deshmukh.

Maoist rebels have also asked people to boycott the staggered 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.