A 48-hour-bandh called by Maoists in seven States began on a violent note, with extremists blowing up a rail track between Midnapore and Godapiasal in West Bengal's Paschim Medinipur district shortly after midnight on Sunday.

The blast affected the services in the Adra-Midnapore section of the South Eastern Railway (SER). They were restored only at 10.35 a.m. Monday.

The bandh received a mixed response in the Maoist-affected districts of Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia. While life was normal in the urban centres, regions along the fringes of the forests witnessed a shutdown.

In a statement, the South Eastern Railway said the driver of a goods train passing through the stretch heard an explosion and saw some Maoist banners by the track. “He immediately alerted the authorities, and the services in both directions were stopped. There was a minor damage to the sleepers and ballast,” an SER official said.

Railway officials rushed to the spot, along with personnel of the Government Railway Police, Railway Protection Force and a bomb squad. They conducted a thorough check of the site, the statement said.

While seven trains were delayed, two were cancelled and two short-terminated.

CPI(M) office torched

Suspected Maoists set on fire an office of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the homes of three CPI(M) supporters at Bagjhappa near Jhargram in the district late on Sunday.

Santosh Murmu, a supporter of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC), was shot dead at Belpahari on Sunday.

Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Verma said an investigation was on. The PSBJC leadership blamed the killing on the CPI(M)-backed Gana Pratirodh Committee and threatened to launch a mass movement against what it called continuing atrocities perpetrated by the police in connivance with CPI(M) supporters.

Mr. Verma said 12 persons were arrested in the district since Friday for their suspected association with Maoists.