Four people were killed when the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed in Chapra, Bihar early on Wednesday, while nine other passengers were injured in the accident, which is being seen as a Maoist sabotage by the Railway ministry even as the local police differ.
The incident is reported to have occurred just after 2 am on Wednesday morning, when 12 coaches of the train derailed around 75 kilometers away from Patna, according to Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena. He said the cause of the accident was still to be determined.
However, speculations were rife that the accident could be a result of sabotage with Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda pointing fingers at the Maoists.
"Reasons are said to have been sabotage and there was a bandh called by Maoists... that is why it occurred is what I have understood but the exact reasons aren't known," Daily News and Analysis quoted Gowda.
The Maoists are believed to have called for a shutdown in the area.
"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 Press Trust of India. "Another goods train, 60 kms away from the station, also got derailed due to a blast," he added.
However, the Director General of Police at Saran, Vinod Kumar, ruled out sabotage as the cause behind the accident. "The driver said he heard no sound of explosion. The train stopped after some noise on the tracks," Kumar told NDTV.
Some sort of a blame game has also begun, with the police blaming the railways for not having followed its rule of arranging a pilot engine to escort trains passing through sensitive areas.
But Railway official Madhuresh Kumar told NDTV, "There are bandhs everyday; how many escort should we provide?"
"It is not a very sensitive area. It is close to the town. The police are also ruling out sabotage," Kundan Kumar, District Magistrate for Chapra was quoted by the channel.
Meanwhile, Gowda has announced a monetary compensation of ₹2 lakh for families of those killed, ₹1 lakh for those who have been grievously injured and ₹20,000 for those who have sustained minor injuries.
The Railways also floated helpline numbers while a relief train was arranged to move the other passangers to the next railway station from where they can take another train to Dibrugarh. Several more passengers are feared trapped in the derailed coaches, and relief and rescue operations are on at the accident site as per news reports.
Chhapra station superintendent: 06152-243409
Railway helpline: 06279-65210, 06152-243409, 06152-237807, 09771443941
Gazipur city: 0548-2223435, 9794843922
Balia: 05498-223024, 09794843923
More people were reported injured as hours passed after the derailment of the Rajdhani Express in Bihar early Wednesday morning that left 4 people dead. 23 people are injured, of which 13 wer eseriously injured in the accident.
The Home Ministry as well as the chief minister of Bihar have ruled out any element of Maoist sabotage behind the accident.
Home Minister Rajnath SIngh said it was too early to blame the accident on Maoists.
Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi told the media, "There is no evidence to suggest that a blast by the Maoists caused the derailment. Had this been true, there would have been remnants of explosive on the track. But, there is none."