Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Kerry heads to Paris for new round of Gaza peace talks

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Scores killed in suspected Maoist train attack

Video by Vikram Singh

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-28

More than 60 people were killed and over 120 injured when an express train full of sleeping passengers derailed in India on Friday and crashed into a goods train, in an attack officials believe was carried out by Maoist rebels.

AFP - Suspected Maoist rebels derailed a high-speed train packed with sleeping passengers into the path of a freight train in eastern India Friday, killing at least 65 people, officials said.
   
Police said the death toll was expected to rise with dozens more bodies feared trapped in the mangled wreckage after 13 carriages of the Mumbai-bound express from Kolkata careened off the tracks in a remote area of West Bengal.
   
Initial reports had suggested the derailment was triggered by an explosion, but police said there was evidence that the fishplates used to secure adjoining sections of track had been removed.
   
"We found some Maoist leaflets at the site so it appears to be the work of Maoists," West Bengal police chief Bhupinder Singh told AFP.
   
"It seems there are still a large number of passengers trapped in the carriages -- dead or alive, we are not sure," Singh said.
   
Another senior police official helping coordinate the rescue operation said emergency teams had recovered 65 bodies.
   
"And the fear is that there will be many more," police inspector general Surajit Kar Purakayastha told AFP.
   
More than 120 people were reported injured, some of them in critical condition.
   
Four of the carriages which had slammed into an oncoming goods train were badly crushed and flipped on their sides with body parts clearly visible amid the twisted metal.
   
Rescue workers with bolt cutters struggled to free anyone still alive inside.
   
One survivor, Vinayak Sadna, said he had been sleeping when his carriage lurched violently to one side and then flipped over, flinging passengers around the compartment.
   
"I ended up stuck between two seats with an iron bar crushing my hand," Sadna said. "I was trapped for three hours before I was pulled out. My wife is still missing."
   
Another distraught passenger, Ranjit Ganguly, who was travelling to Mumbai for a holiday with his family said he had been thrown from his carriage by the impact but his daughter and son were trapped inside.
   
Paramedic teams treated the injured on the side of the track, while the most serious cases were evacuated by air force helicopters.
   
Railways Minister Mamata Bannerjee, who rushed to the site, confirmed that Maoists were believed to be responsible.
   
"The railways are a soft target. They are a lifeline ... which the Maoists have attacked in the past and, it seems, even now," she told reporters.
   
The incident occurred at around 1:30 am (2000 GMT Thursday) in the district of West Midnapore -- a Maoist stronghold around 135 kilometres (85 miles) west of Kolkata.
   
If Maoist involvement is confirmed, it will increase pressure on the Indian government, which is currently reviewing its anti-Maoist strategy after a series of deadly attacks.
   
Until now, the government has resisted growing calls to deploy the military against the rebels, preferring instead to use regular and paramilitary police.
   
But Home Minister P. Chidambaram -- who has borne the brunt of public criticism over the handling of the insurgency -- recently acknowledged that changes were needed and said he would request wider powers.
   
The Maoist rebellion began in West Bengal state in 1967 in the name of defending the rights of tribal groups, and has since spread to 20 of India's 28 states.
   
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has labelled it the biggest threat to the country's internal security.
   
In April, the rebels ambushed and killed 76 policemen in the central state of Chhattisgarh in the bloodiest massacre of security forces so far by the extremists.
   
Friday's incident was the worst loss of life on India's enormous rail network since 22 people were killed in October, when a Delhi-bound express ploughed into the back of passenger train near the Taj Mahal town of Agra.
   
The railway system -- the main form of long-distance travel in India despite fierce competition from private airlines -- runs 14,000 passenger and freight trains a day, carrying 18.5 million people.

Date created : 2010-05-28

  • INDIA

    Deadly landmine blast blamed on Maoist rebels

    Read more

  • INDIA

    Maoists kill scores of policemen in central India attack

    Read more

  • INDIA

    Deadly blast rips popular eatery in western city of Pune

    Read more

COMMENT(S)