May 27, 2010 STRATFOR
Heavy casualties were feared after an early morning blast caused 13 coaches of a Mumbai-bound express train to derail, PTI reported May 27. The blast hit the railway lines around 1:30 a.m. local time, causing the Howrah-Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express to fall onto the down line where it was hit by a goods train in West Midnapore district, between Khemasoli and Sardiya stations.
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CALCUTTA, India – Indian media reports say heavy casualties are feared after a passenger train was derailed by an explosion then hit by another train as it travelled through a rebel stronghold of eastern India.
Press Trust of India news agency reports that 13 passenger coaches on a Mumbai-bound train derailed after an explosion early Friday on the railway line. Those coaches were then hit by a cargo train coming from the other direction.
The passenger train, which had left Calcutta, was passing through an area that has faced repeated attacks by India’s Maoist rebels.
Railways officials told the agency that “heavy casualties” were feared.
Deaths in India train collision
Officials say an explosion derailed one train pushing it into the path of an oncoming goods train
At least 15 people have been killed and dozens more injured after an explosion derailed an overnight passenger train in northeastern India, flinging its coaches into the path of an oncoming goods train.
A spokesman for Indian railways said sabotage was suspected as the cause of the collision.
The incident occured early on Friday in an area of West Bengal state known to be a stronghold of Maoist fighters.
Reports from the site described a scene of chaos with several passenger cars badly damaged and many dead and injured.
The Press Trust of India reported that 15 people had been killed, but other reports quoted higher figures.
The passenger train was travelling to Mumbai from the eastern city of Kolkata in West Bengal state.
“The blast derailed 13 coaches of the Gyaneshwari Express. These coaches then fell on the other track where a goods train rammed into some of them,” Soumitra Majumdar, a railway spokesman, told Reuters news agency.
“We fear many casualties. There could be many people dead. We don’t have details yet.”
Another official said many passengers were still trapped in the mangled coaches.
Mamata Bannerjee, India’s railways minister, rushed to the scene of the collision early on Friday.
“The fear is that this was a Maoist attack,” Bannerjee told reporters.
“The railways are a soft target. They are a lifeline … which the Maoists have attacked in the past and, it seems, even now,” she added.
Maoist groups in the area have been blamed for a series of attacks on police, government buildings and infrastructure such as railway stations.
In recent months they have stepped up attacks in response to a government security offensive to clear them out of their jungle bases.
Earlier this month an attack on a bus in the mineral-rich state of Chhattisgarh killed 35 people.
Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, has described the Maoist insurgency as India’s biggest internal security challenge.
30 killed in Indian train blast: report
An express train packed with sleeping passengers has derailed in India and slammed into a goods train, killing at least 30 people in an apparent attack by Maoist rebels, officials said.
More deaths were feared in the mangled wreckage after 13 carriages of the Mumbai-bound express train careened off the tracks in the state of West Bengal and collided with the oncoming freight train.
Initial reports indicated the derailment may have been triggered by an act of sabotage, with officials pointing the finger at Maoist rebels active in the eastern region.