PatnaHundreds of Maoists raided a passenger train in Bihar this afternoon and resorted to indiscriminate firing, killing three people and injuring two others. The rebels also snatched some weapons from the railway escort party travelling on the train. The incident occurred at around 1 pm on Thursday.

Police said the well-equipped Maoists attacked the Dhanbad-Patna intercity train near Kundar halt in eastern Bihar’s Jamui district this afternoon and went on firing indiscriminately on the train carrying about 2,000 passengers for about one-and-a-half hour. The panicky passengers hid inside the berths or slept in the train boggy to escape being hit by bullets flying thick and fast.

Soon after the Maoists attacked the train, the security forces returned fire in retaliation in which one cop was killed and some five others were wounded. The train was coming to Patna from Dhanbad when the incident occurred.

Witnesses said the rebels who included some female Maoists, attacked the train soon after it zoomed past the Jamui railway station. “Suddenly we heard bullets sounds and could see the bullets hitting the train boggy. In a sudden state of panic, we hid inside the berths and began offering prayers to God,” one of the witnesses Suman Kumar said.

“As per preliminary information teaching us, one security personnel has been killed in the Maoist attack,” Bihar’s additional director general of police S.K. Bhardwaj told the media today, adding the attack was primarily aimed at snatching arms.

He said the additional reinforcement had been rushed to the spot and a massive combing operation had been launched. According him, the number of Maoists was more than 100.

Indian minister of state for home RPN Singh described the Maoists’ attack as a dastardly act but said his government drive against the rebels would continue. “It’s frustration of the Maoists. It’s unfortunate that ten rebels are now targeting the innocent people, trains and political rallies.”