The 48 hour bandh called by Maoists in three of five states -- Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar -- was headlined with incidents of violence as the extremists torched two railway stations, blew up a community centre and exchanged fire with police.
In Bihar's Gaya district, around 400 Maoists descended on the Ismailpur railway station on Tuesday evening and set it ablaze and took the station master hostage, Gaya SP Sushil Khopde told PTI. They directed the railway employees to leave the station before torching it, Khopde said, adding that rail traffic was disrupted. The Maoists later freed the station master. The Special Task Force and CRPF have launched combing operations, he said.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, the ultras blasted a community hall at Irki in Aurangabad district of Bihar. About 100 ultras raided the village and blew up the building with dynamite, ADG (HQ) Neelmani said. A Maoist activist was also killed in an encounter with the police at Sakir Bigha in Gaya, Khopade said.
In Orissa, Maoists, including women cadre, set off a powerful explosion at the Roxy railway station, about 80 km from Rourkela, causing extensive damage to the building, police said. An assistant station manager, a porter and a guard were held captive by the Maoists for over three hours before being released with a warning not to run trains during a shutdown, sources said.
Maoists blew up the outer lines of the railway track at Tunia, about 100 km from Rourkela. Bombay-Howrah Mail and Koraput-Howrah Samaleshwari Express had to be halted at Rourkela, while Pune-Howrah Azad Hind Express was halted at Manoharpur station at Orissa-Jharkhand border, sources said.
The ultras also torched over eight dumpers and heavy vehicles at a railway station on the Rourkela-Barsuna route used for transport of iron ore and minerals to the Rourkela Steel Plant and other units, Inspector-in-charge B C Sahoo said.
A group of 15 armed Maoists attacked Bhalulata Railway station, 25 km from Rourkela, but could not blow up the building as the explosive device did not go off.
In Jharkhand, two policemen were injured in an encounter at Taimara Ghati with Maoists, who torched four trucks on the Ranchi-Jamshedpur road, SP (Rural) Anup T Mathew told PTI.
The Maoists also blew up a mobile tower in neighbouring Latehar district's Lali village.