Suspected rebels free train in India before vote

April 22, 2009 11:57

Suspected communist rebels freed nearly 300 train passengers unharmed after keeping them hostage for nearly five hours at a rail station in eastern India on Wednesday, a day before the second phase of Indian national elections that the guerrillas have vowed to disrupt. After releasing the passengers, the nearly 250 suspected rebels who stopped the train left without a confrontation with security forces, said senior police official Hemant Toppo. The hijacking - which took place in a Maoist rebel stronghold about 560 miles (900 kilometers) east of New Delhi - was one of a series of attacks that included an explosion at another railway station, a blast at a government office, and the slaying of a truck driver in the neighboring state of Bihar. The rebels have called on the public to boycott the national election and a pamphlet left at the attacked government office described India's national elections as "a fake exercise."

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