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Rajdhani mishap: MHA says too early to call it Maoist attack, seeks report

Jun 25, 2014 12:11 PM IST India India
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Patna: Bihar saw two train derailments on Wednesday morning, following which the possibility of a sabotage by the Naxals is being probed. In the first accident, 12 coaches along with the engine of the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed killing four and injuring 10 while the second accident was reported 60 km away, from Motihari, where a goods train got derailed.

While the Home Ministry has said that it is too early to point at the Naxals in the Rajdhani accident, it seems to suggest that the Motihari goods train accident was indeed a sabotage by the Naxals.

"I have spoken directly to the Railway and the district officials on the spot. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been informed regarding all developments. Even he agrees that it is too early to blame the Naxals. Let us wait for further report on the incident. The Motihari incident, however, looks like the handiwork of Naxals," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.

But sources have told CNN-IBN that the Intelligence Bureau had sent an alert of possible violence during a bandh called by Naxals, especially in Gopalganj, Saran, Muzaffarpur and Siwan districts. The Home Ministry has sought a report from the Bihar state police.

Union Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda is on his way to visit the spot where the Rajdhani Express got derailed. "The officers were swift to take action and the rescue and relief work is on. A bandh was call by Maoists in the area of the accident, but the cause of derailment needs to be verified," Gowda said.

Madhuresh Kumar, General Manager, East Central Railway, said, "An inquiry will be done by the Railway Commission. So can't comment on it. But yes, there was a Maoist declared bandh today."

"Prima facie, it appears to be a case of sabotage. There was a blast on the track, which could have caused the derailment," Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar told PTI in Delhi. "Another goods train, 60 kms away from the station, also got derailed due to a blast. 18 wagons got derailed in the accident," Kumar said.

However, the Saran district administration has ruled out Maoist role behind the Rajdhani Express derailment. Saran District Magistrate Kundan Kumar told PTI that the accident seems be due to operational problems and not triggered by Maoists. He told reporters on the spot that another train Kaviguru Express had crossed the spot safely 15 minutes before Rajdhani Express.

Moreover, the place where the train derailed was not a secluded place but in a town which witnesses regular railway traffic. Hence any attempt of planting bombs or other activities of the Maoists could have been easily spotted, the DM said. Kumar also said the casualty would have been higher, if it was an act of sabotage.

Chhapra MP rajiv Pratap Rudy was at the spot and said that while there may be a possibility of sabotage, nothing can be said till a probe is underway. "Full force was deployed and what best could be done was done by the district administration and Railways. There are people who have said that the tracks had been blown up. I don't know which part. So we will have to check that. But this place is prone to Maoists," Rudy said.

"Once they pulled the brakes, the coaches derailed. Many have been severely injured and at least 7-8 people must have been killed," said a passenger. "The medical team has reached and now the rescue operations have started. I saw a few dead bodies and many were injured. It was dark. Those who were seriously injured were somehow taken out from the derailed coaches. I was in coach number B3," another passenger said.

Gowda has called the accident 'unfortunate' and has announced Rs 2 lakh as compensation for the families of the dead, Rs 1 lakh for the grievously injured and Rs 20,000 for people who suffered minor injuries. He also said that the Railways would investigate if there was any foul play involved.

Helpline numbers:

Chhapra station superintendent: 06152-243409

Railway helpline: 06279-65210, 06152-243409, 06152-237807, 09771443941

Muzaffarpur: 0621-2213034

Varanasi: 0542-2226778,0542-2224742

Gazipur city: 0548-2223435, 9794843922

Balia: 05498-223024, 09794843923

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