Nearly 250 suspected Maoist rebels hijacked a train with hundreds of passengers aboard in a remote area in eastern India on Wednesday, a day ahead of parliamentary polling that the guerrillas have vowed to disrupt.
The standoff over the train, which the rebels forced to remain at a station, was one of a series of attacks Wednesday that included a pre-dawn 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 asked people in the region to boycott the polling and authorities suspect the attacks were an attempt to disrupt voting scheduled for Thursday.
The first phase of the nationwide voting last week saw more than three dozen attacks by Maoist fighters in rural areas across eastern and central India. The violence left at least 17 people dead - including police, soldiers, polling officials and civilians - and three election officials were kidnapped.