The Centre has issued an alert in the Naxal-affected States ahead of a two-day bandh called by Maoists in protest against the killing of rebel leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in Andhra Pradesh last week.

The Home Ministry has asked the States to be on maximum vigil and take steps to foil any attempt at violence, including hostage-like situations.

The Ministry has asked the States as well as the Railways to guard railway properties, track, public places, markets and other vital installations to avoid any untoward incident during the 48-hour bandh beginning at 0000 hours on Wednesday.

Vigil on track

K. Balchand reports:

The Railways have issued a red alert directing zonal railways to ensure the safety of passengers and safe running of trains.

With the zonal railways being given all powers to decide on running of trains, the East Central Railway, Hajipur, cancelled at least four pairs of trains, diverted 10 trains and regulated five others for three days with effect from Tuesday.

The ban on night running of trains under the Kharagpur division has been extended till July 9.

Particularly concerned that the Maoists this time dissuaded people from travelling in trains, the Railways ordered stepped-up vigil of the track and round-the-clock monitoring of the situation by all authorities. Quick Response teams, comprising 25 personnel of the Railway Protection Force and the Government Railway Police, have been formed under the leadership of the Divisional Security Commandant and deployed at sensitive points.

The Railways have placed speed restrictions in the naxalite belt, and decided to pilot a bunch of trains. Special care is being taken for the safety of Rajdhani and Shatabdi expresses.

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