Toll goes 148 in Jhargram; more bodies recovered

Last Updated: Sunday, May 30, 2010 - 20:02

Jhargram: The toll in the Mumbai-
bound Gnaneswari Express derailment rose to over 148 today as
more bodies were pulled out from the wreckage of the mangled
coaches.

"All bodies from the spot have been recovered. Train
services along the route resumed at 2.50 A.M. early this
morning," South Eastern Railway`s Kharagpur Divisional
Railway Manager Anil Handa said.

District Magistrate N S Nigam and hospital sources
have put the toll at 148.

All trains plying in the Sardiha and Khemasuli route
in Jhargram in West Midnapore district, about 135 km from
Kolkata, will now have a speed limit of 15 km per hour at
night, Handa said.

Around 145 passengers were being treated in various
hospitals in Midnapore, Kharagpur and Kolkata, he said.

Train services on the Kharagpur-Tatanagar section of
the South Eastern Railway (SER) resumed this morning after
restoration of both up and down tracks.

13 coaches of the Kurla-bound express from Howrah were
derailed, of which five fell on opposite tracks and were
smashed by a goods train in what is believed to be a case of
sabotage engineered by Maoists.

A six-member CID team led by CID Additional Director
General Raj Kanojia and accompanied by forensic experts
visited the derailment site and inspected the 400-metre
stretch of the damaged railway track.

The forensic experts collected samples from the spot,
including pandrol clips, which were found to be dislodged at
many places.

"It is a case of sabotage. Planned attacks on the
railways have been going on in this area for quite some time.
The railway line was cut and the pandrol clips were opened.
But without a forensic report, we cannot say whether there was
an explosion or not," Kanojia told reporters here.

Amidst allegations that a faction of the People`s
Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) was responsible for
the derailment, the Maoist-backed organisation today disowned
any hand and charged the CPI-M with "hatching the plot".

"We have no intention to target trains and we condemn
and mourn such a colossal loss of civilian lives," its
convenor, Asit Mahato, said over telephone.

A day after the state police claimed to have identified
two persons of the PCPA, recently released on bail, having a
hand in the derailment, Mahato said, "politically-motivated
statements are being issued to separate us from the masses."

The PCPA leader named four CPI-M district and local
leaders and alleged that they had opened camps close to
Sardiha where the train derailed.

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and her bitter rivals,
the CPM-led government got into a no-holds bar fight on who
was to blame for the attack. Trinamool sees a conspiracy
hatched by the state government while the CPI-M accuses her of
being ineffective.

Home Minister P Chidambaram saw the derailment as an act
of sabotage, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said bomb
explosion had led to the tracks being damaged and derailment.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 30, 2010 - 20:02

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