Stepping up their attacks to counter the second phase of Lok Sabha polls, the Maoists on Wednesday seized a train with nearly 700 passengers on board in Jharkhand's Latehar district for over four hours and triggered blasts in Bihar where they set ablaze trucks and shot dead a driver.
The Maoists seized the Gomo-Mogulsarai BDM train near Hehegarha railway station at about 7:30 am and released it at 11:39 hours without harming any of the passengers, Senior Divisional Railway Manager, Dhanbad, Neeraj Ambast said.
"All the passengers are safe. The train has left on its onward journey," he said.
Latehar is about 125 kms from Ranchi. The train, with nine coaches, was packed to capacity without about 700 passengers on board with people were even standing on the foot boards of the coaches," Railway PRO in Dhanbad, Amerendra Das said.
In Bihar, a block development office in Aurangabad district was bombed by Maoists who set ablaze eight trucks in neighbouring Gaya where they shot dead a driver during a 24-hour bandh called by them in the two states to protest killing of their cadres by security forces.
Alarmed by the attack, the Union Home Ministry convened a high-level meeting in New Delhi [ Images ] to review the security situation in naxal-affected areas of Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh [ Images ], Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, where polling will be held on Thursday.
The Centre is in close touch with the state governments where the attacks have taken place recently, an official said.
The Centre has already despatched 3,000 Central security personnel to Bihar to prevent any naxal violence in the second phase of Lok Sabha polls tomorrow. Home Ministry sources said 30 additional companies of the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force and Sashastra Seema Bal have also been deployed.