Nearly 100 people killed as passenger train derails in northern India
[Representational image]IANS File Photo

Eight coaches of the Jabalpur-Hazrat Nizamuddin Mahakaushal Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of Thursday, March 30, resulting in at least 50 people being injured. Given the manner of how the terror angle has come up in derailment cases in India in recent times, the police are reportedly looking into the matter. 

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Initial reports from the spot said that the derailment occurred at 2:07 am near the Mahoba station in Uttar Pradesh. Eight coaches of the train — which was bound for Delhi — went off the tracks, according to the chief public relations officer (CPRO) of North Central Railway. The CPRO had initially said nine people were injured, but the number later rose to 12. 

Indian Railways director general (Public Relations) Anil Saxena later clarified that the number of injured was 22, and that 19 of them had been discharged after initial treatment. As the morning wore on, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh to visit the derailment site and oversee the rescue and relief operations. The number later rose to 36. subsequent reports said 50 people had been injured. 

Efforts by Railways

The Ministry of Railways by Thursday afternoon announced an ex gratia of Rs 20,000 for those injured, and Rs 50,000 for those whose injuries were grievous in nature. It also said only one person had been hospitalised. It is suspected that this individual has sustained one or more fractures. 

Meanwhile, helplines have been set up at the Jhansi, Gwalior, Banda, Hazrat Nizamuddin and other stations for the kin of passengers who were aboard the train. 

Here are the helpline numbers: 

Relief work

An accident relief train was rushed to the spot — between the Mahoba and Kulpahar stations — as soon as the authorities got news of the incident. The train was able to administer first-aid to the injured. As a result of the accident, several trains between Jhansi and Allahabad have been diverted.

The Railway Ministry has said three buses have been arranged to ferry the stranded passengers. It also said they have been served biscuits and water, with more aid and transport on the way. 

Leter in the day, 47 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) landed up at the crash site to aid in the rescue and relief operations. They said that there had been no death so far, and that there was little possibility of people being trapped in the debris. 

Terror on tracks again?

Several top railway and administrative officials, including North Central Railway General manager NC Chauhan, rushed to the spot. Subsequently, members from the Anti-Terrorist Squad, including Inspector General Assem Arun, reached the spot and joined the probe. 

One angle they probed was whether this was a terror attack. Given the recent spate of derailments and train accidents in the country in the past few months, and how investigations revealed that they were terror attacks, this one too came under the scanner for similar reasons. 

Subsequently, UP Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said: "A portion of the track broke due to wielding, it seems. The reason of this will be investigated." Earlier, Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Singh had said an enquiry had been ordered into the derailment.