Maoists Protest Modi Visit, Trigger Blast at Odisha Train Station

The Quint brings you the stories making headlines in dailies across India. 

Maoists attacked a railway station in Odisha's Rayagada district in the early hours of Friday, triggering a blast, and put up posters protesting the proposed visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the state next month.

Around 15-20 Maoists stormed the Doikalu railway station under Sambalpur Division shortly after midnight and ransacked the station master's office, Chief Public Relations Officer of East Coast Railway (ECoR), JP Mishra said.

The ultras pulled out station master SK Parida and triggered an explosion in the station premises. Parida and a token porter Gobind Hikaka were also detained by them for a brief period, he said.

The attackers snatched the walkie-talkie from the station master, and forced the staff of a goods train standing outside the station to shut down the engine, Mishra said.

Rayagada Superintendent of Police K Siva Subramani, who rushed to the spot, said minor damage was caused to the engine of the goods train.

No railway staff or local people were hurt in the incident, the CPRO said, adding that the control room has been able to speak to the staff.

Train services through Daikallu, located between Rayagada and Titlagarh stations, were disrupted for quite some time. A number of trains were stranded at Muniguda station, railway officials said.

The Maoists left behind handwritten posters opposing the policies of Narendra Modi government at the Centre and Naveen Patnaik regime in Odisha, officials said.

In one of the posters, the attackers opposed the proposed two-day visit of the Prime Minister to Odisha on 15 and 16 April to attend the BJP's national executive meeting. Some posters also criticised non-Odia officers being appointed to senior posts in the state police as well as the administration, they said.

Director General of Police KB Singh said combing operations have been launched in the area by CRPF and Special Operation Group (SOG) personnel after the incident.

Railway officials said that movement of goods trains with restricted speed had resumed after security clearance, while steps are being taken for resumption of express and passenger trains soon.