Train derails: Truth is the main casualty

Patna :  Five passengers were killed and ten injured when 12 AC coaches of New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed at Goldenganj, 10 km from the divisional headquarters of Chhapra on Wednesday. Instead of focusing on the tragedy, the Union Railway Minister and the Union Home Minister found themselves talking at cross-purposes on the mishap.

While Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda, ostensibly keen to deflect attention from the poor upkeep of the tracks, cited Naxalite activity in the region, Home Minister Rajnath Singh ruled out sabotage. Both, in the same breath, also said that the investigations were still on. Later, the   railways authorities visited Chhapra and echoed the line taken by Gowda that the accident was caused due to sabotage. However, they had no conclusive evidence at hand, the only suggestive lead being the Maoists call for a bandh in the area.

The district magistrate and SP of Chhapra, who visited the accident site, however, refuted the claim of the Railway authorities and said a preliminary inquiry had revealed cracks in the track.  Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, too, ruled out sabotage, although some 500 metres of tracks were found to be uprooted.  Clearly at loggerheads, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the BJP Lok Sabha member from Chhapra, harped on Maoist activity in the region.

In another incident, 12 coaches of a goods train also jumped tracks near Motihari in East Champaran district in Bihar. No casualties were reported.

Chhaya Mishra

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