Four days on, abducted Jharkhand rail employees untraced

October 19th, 2008 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Oct 19 (IANS) Four days after four railway employees were abducted by suspected Maoist rebels from Jharkhand’s McCluskieganj railway station, police Sunday said there was no trace of the victims even though combing operations are underway.”Intensive combing operations are on to rescue the abducted railway employees. We have zeroed in on three places where they may have been kept,” a police officer involved in the combing operation told IANS.

On Wednesday night, suspected Maoist rebels abducted the employees from McCluskieganj railway station, about 70 km from here. The station comes under Dhanbad railway division. The Jharkhand Prastuti Committee (JPC), a small Maoist group, has reportedly claimed responsibility for the crime.

The railway employees abducted include two deputy station masters - S.K. Kesari and S.D. Ekka, Assistant Station master Kamal Kishore and a station guard of Barwadih railway station, Munsi Prasad.

While Kishore and Prasad were abducted at gunpoint from the station, the two deputy station managers were taken away from their residential quarters near the railway station.

Railways Minister Lalu Prasad has spoken to Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren and requested the early and safe release of the employees.

Employees of the Dhanbad railway division, meanwhile, halted services at Barkakhana-Barwadih and Garwah rail link for over five hours Saturday, demanding the release of their colleagues.

In Jharkhand, over 60 percent of the railway stations are in Maoist infested areas. In the last seven years, rebels have blown up more than a dozen railway stations and over 15 rail tracks.

Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the state’s 24 districts. In the last seven years, more than 1,300 people including civilians and rebels have been killed in Maoist-related violence.

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