Article published on the 2009-04-22 Latest update 2009-04-22 08:39 TU
Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee speaking during a rally in Samastipur, eastern Bihar state on 21 April 21 2009
Rebels have released more than 300 people hostages in Latehar district, in the eastern state of Jharkhand, after attacking a train on Wednesday. The attack is thought to be an attempt to disrupt elections which began on 16 April.
Around 200 rebels attacked the train at a station in Latehar district and cut communication links, according to reports from Indian media. Authorities used helicopters to survey the captured coaches.
The agricultural area went to the polls in the first phase of Indian elections on 16 April, and there are 14 seats available in the Jharkhand state where the attack took place.
Last week a landmine hit a bus in Latehar carrying paramilitaries, killing seven soldiers and two civilians.
Maoists also called for a general strike on Wednesday asking for businesses to close and people to remain at home, whilst polls in the country have been staggered to try and minimise violence across the country.
The authorities said all passengers involved in the incident were safe.
Maoist guerrilla groups, often referred to as Naxalites after the 1067 insurrection in Naxalbari, West Bengal, are now active in seven Indian states. They claim to be fighting for poor villagers against large landowners, those at the bottom of the traditional caste system and tribal peoples.