Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tension grips Bihar after threat letter to Railways

An anonymous note by suspected Maoists threatening to blow up railway stations in Bihar has security forces on edge.

Hundreds of visitors have been coming to the state for an ongoing youth and film festival as well as the 2,550th anniversary celebrations of Lord Buddha.

Unwilling to take any chances with the National Film Festival and the National Youth Festival underway in Patna, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered maximum alert at the Patna station and all important routes.

"Additional security forces have been deployed in and around Patna junction and patrolling has been intensified on the Patna-Gaya line in view of the Buddhist congregation to mark the 2,550th anniversary of Lord Buddha going on in Bodh Gaya, the birthplace of Buddhism," said a police official.

Security has also been tightened at all stations between Patna and Gaya.

The anonymous letter was received on Saturday by Patna junction's Railway Protection Force (RPF) in-charge Ghanshyam Meena.

It warned of a Jehanabad-like attack if the task of escorting trains was not handed over to the RPF from the Government Railway Police (GRP), which it said robbed passengers and indulged in blatant corruption.

In November last year, the Jehanabad jail was attacked by hundreds of Maoist guerrillas and nearly 400 prisoners escaped. Eighty-six are still missing.

While experts are scrutinising the letter, the role of some disgruntled RPF personnel has not been ruled out.
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