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Blasts in Odisha rail station

Soft target: A Maoist banner at the Doikalu station with the targeted goods train in the background.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Protesting against the proposed visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Odisha, Maoists triggered blasts at the Doikalu railway station in Rayagada district of the State on Thursday.

Naxalites set off an explosion in the office of the station master and tried to damage the engine of a goods train through another blast. But they did not harm the railway staff. Many trains were detained at various stations due to the blasts. Doikalu is situated between Rayagada and Titilagarh.

Handwritten posters

Maoists left behind handwritten banners and posters in Odia at the station, attacking the policies of the Modi government at the Centre and the Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha. They also opposed the BJP’s national executive meeting in Bhubaneswar on April 15 and 16 and Mr. Modi’s visit to Odisha to attend the same.

In some posters, the ultras opposed the posting of non-Odia administrative officials and the deployment of non-Odia BSF and CRPF personnel, who, they alleged, were exploiting the locals.

According to Doikalu station master S.K. Parida, about 15 to 20 armed Maoists, including women cadres, in two groups entered the station around 12.15 a.m.

The group that entered his office forced him and a porter out of the station premises. It then triggered an explosion in the station master’s office.

The ultras also took away two walkie talkie sets.

Another group of Maoists reached a goods train stationed there. It snatched a walkie talkie from the engine driver and forced him to shut down the engine. The ultras tried to take out diesel from the engine to burn it, but they failed. They triggered a blast near the engine.

According to railway officials, the blasts did not cause much damage.

As Doikalu is a small station, where very few trains stop, security was low, which made it a soft target for the Maoists, sources said.

11 trains detained

According to East Coast Railway authorities, at least 11 trains had to be detained at various stations. The Junagarh-Sambalpur Express was cancelled. Traffic was resumed on this route after security clearance.

Odisha Director General of Police K.B. Singh said a new Maoist group in Rayagada district might be behind the violence.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 9:19:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/blasts-in-odisha-rail-station/article17753162.ece

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