Rebels free train passengers in eastern India

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PATNA, India – 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.

Police say suspected communist rebels have freed more than 250 train passengers after keeping them hostage for nearly five hours at a rail station in eastern India.

The hijacking Wednesday came a day ahead of parliamentary polling that the guerrillas have vowed to disrupt.

Hemant Toppo, superintendent of police, says all the passengers were released unharmed in the small town of Hehegarah in Jharkhand state.

The hijacking 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 asked people in the region to boycott the polling and authorities suspect the attacks were an attempt to disrupt voting Thursday.