Thousands of passengers had a harrowing time after the movement of trains running between Howrah and Sealdah and various parts of north India, including New Delhi, came to a standstill for over 8 hours following a Maoist threat, officials said on Saturday. Top railway officials said about two dozen trains were stranded at various stations or re-routed between Friday night and early morning Saturday after the cabin man of Bhaluhi railway halt on the Danapur-Howrah section was threatened and forced by group of Maoists not to give the green signal required to facilitate train movement.
East central railway zone’s chief public relations officer Arvind Rajak said a group of 10 Maoists accosted the cabin man, identified as Dinesh Arya, around 10:30pm on Friday and forced him to cease signalling. The railway halt is in Jamui district of southeastern Bihar, which has for long been a hotbed of violent Maoist activity. In June 2012 nearly 100 suspected Maoists had attacked the Dhanbad-Patna Intercity Express in Jamui district leading to the death of three persons – a Railway Protection Force constable, a Bihar police sub inspector and a passenger. The Maoist action came amid a call for bandh given by the ultras in several states including Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, in protest against the against anti-Maoist operations, particularly in Chhattisgarh. The movement of trains on this section could only be restored by about 7am on Saturday after CRPF personnel inspected the railway track and a goods train was run on it to ensure the track was safe for plying of passenger trains.