Ranchi: A policeman was killed and 15 others wounded in an exchange of fire with Maoists, who also blasted railway tracks and an engine during a 24-hour Jharkhand bandh called by them.
Maoists fired on a police patrol on the Grand Trunk Road in Dhanbad district, about 210 kms from here, killing the policeman and injuring 15 others, Divisional Commander of the Railway Protection Force Shashi Kumar told PTI.
The patrol also fired back, he said, adding that 10 injured policemen were admitted to a hospital in Dhanbad and 5 others were referred to Ranchi.
In Latehar district, the ultras also blasted the building of Hehegarha Railway station, about 100 kms from here.
Railway staff at Hehegarha said the Maoists, including women cadres, beat them up before detonating six bombs that damaged tracks, the engine of a stationary goods train and the station building.
A separate group of ultras triggered blasts on railway tracks near Tetulmari in Dhanbad district, disrupting service for over six hours before they were repaired at around 7:30 am, Kumar said.
Three passenger trains between Barkakana and Dehri-on-Sone were cancelled while Ranchi-Varanasi inter-city was diverted via Rajbera following damage to the tracks, according to sources in the Dhanbad Rail Division.
Maoists blew up a mobile tower and a generator at Balubang village in Latehar district, police said.
The bandh affected road transport as buses and trucks went off the roads in Maoist hit areas.
The bandh, which began last midnight, was in protest against the arrest of Maoist cadres in neighbouring Odisha, sentencing of some cadres in Uttar Pradesh and anti-Maoist operations by security forces.
Meanwhile, 50 Maoist prisoners at the high security Jai Prakash Narayan Central Jail at Hazaribagh went on a week-long hunger strike during the day demanding among other things that they be treated as political prisoners.
Jail Superintendent M Hassan said the Maoists had given prior notice about the fast.