Home / News / World /  Naxals attack Dhanbad-Patna inter-city express; two killed

New Delhi/Raipur: About 100 Maoist insurgents attacked a passenger train in Bihar, killing two people, in what officials said was an attempt to loot the weapons of security personnel.

The guerrillas forcibly stopped an inter-city express service in Jamui district of Bihar in the afternoon and opened fire at armed railway police, Deepak Barnwal, the region’s superintendent of police, said by phone. One of the two dead was a member of the railways security force, district magistrate Shashikant Tiwary said. Two other people were injured in the attack.

“The present attack took place as the Bihar government is not proactive against Maoists in the state. For last few months, it has developed cold feet on operation against the Maoists," a home minister official said in New Delhi, speaking on condition of anonymity. “This may be because of forthcoming elections in the state."

The central government announced 5 lakh as compensation for those killed and 1 lakh for the grievously injured in the Maoist attack.

In another incident, a woman accused of being a Maoist was killed in a gun battle with security personnel on Wednesday and another rebel arrested in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district, local police said.

“The deceased has been identified as Sarita, a native of South Bastar, who was active in Nelnar area committee of the Maoist," Narayanpur deputy superintendent of police N.K. Sahu said.

These incidents took place two weeks after the rebels, known as Naxalites after the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal where their leftwing revolt began, struck a convoy of vehicles carrying Congress party leaders. Twenty-eight people died in the 25 May strike, in one of the most deadly attacks on civilians.

The Maoists rebels are active in about a dozen of the country’s 28 states, many of them rich in iron ore, coal, bauxite, manganese and other minerals. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the insurgents the greatest threat to India’s internal security.

The guerrillas say they are fighting for the rights of poor villagers and tribal communities whose resources are, the rebels argue, being exploited to propel India’s $1.9 trillion economy with few benefits for local people.

The rebels attacked the train to grab arms and ammunition from railway police in Bihar as their traditional sources of weapons have dried up, R.P.N. Singh, minister of state in the home ministry, said in New Delhi. It definitely shows the sense of desperation among the Naxalites, he said, expressing the government’s resolve to fight the rebels.

Singh and home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde this month consulted chief ministers of the states and political parties on a strategy to deal with the insurgents. Maoists killed 1,005 civilians and security personnel in 2010, a figure that fell to 611 in 2011, and 415 last year, according to government data.

“In the recently conducted conference of chief ministers in New Delhi, it was emphasized that a sustained offensive needed to be kept against Maoists," said the unnamed official cited earlier. “Otherwise, the latter would continue to bleed security forces and damage state property."

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