95 dead train passengers identified, DNA tests for 53

Kolkata, May 31 (IANS) With 95 of the 148 victims of the ill-fated Gyaneshwari Express identified, the authorities in West Bengal Monday decided to conduct DNA tests for identifying the remaining 53 corpses.

Disclosing this, West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta told mediapersons here that all the identified bodies have been handed over to their family members after post-mortem examination.

For DNA tests, samples are being sent to the city’s Central Forensic Science Laboratory, the premier forensic lab in the country. He said 150 passengers sustained injuries. ‘They are under treatment in several hospitals in Midnapore, Kharagpur and Kolkata.’

Twenty-four of the seriously injured patients had been rushed to Kolkata, of whom one died and four others have been released.

The passenger train went off the track between Sardiha and Khemasuli railway stations in West Bengal, after suspected Maoists removed 1.5 feet of rail track, at 1.30 a.m. Friday, rudely shaking the hundreds of sleeping passengers. Five coaches fell on a parallel track.

Even before the trapped passengers could realise what had happened, a speeding goods train coming from the opposite direction rammed into the five coaches, crushing some of the passengers.

Police found two posters put out by the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities at the accident site, claiming responsibility for the sabotage.

It was the third worst train accident this year blamed on Maoist guerrillas and the worst bout of killings by the rebels since they massacred 76 security personnel in Chhattisgarh April 6.