Friday’s attack by Maoists on a train, forcing its derailment, and collision with a goods train was the ninth attack by the Reds this year and the fourth on trains in the past 10 days.
Account for the Rajdhani Express incident where one of India’s most prestigious trains was hijacked by Maoists earlier this year and the fact that most attacks against trains have been in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district, and two conclusions emerge: one, that Maoists like to target trains; two, that trains plying through this part of Bengal are especially vulnerable.
Having failed to prevent the attack—all the signs pointed that a big one was coming—the government’s response has been to say no trains will run during the night in areas infested with Maoists. That kind of disruption is just what the insurgents would have wanted.
The government can continue to debate the best way to tackle Maoists, but its best-laid plans will go nowhere if it is not able to prevent attacks it can see coming.