PCAPA claims responsibility for train attack

Jhargram (West Bengal), May 28 (IANS) The People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), considered a frontal organisation of the Maoists, claimed responsibility for the derailment of the Howrah-Kurla Gyaneshwari Express in which at least 65 passengers were killed and over 200 injured Friday, police said.

West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh told mediapersons here that two posters of PCAPA were found from the accident site near West Midnapore district’s Jhargram town, about 155 km from Kolkata.

One of the posters of the Lalgarh-based tribal body said the ‘programme (of attacking the train) was taken in protest against the atrocities perpetrated by the joint forces (comprising central paramilitary troopers and state armed police) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) goons’.

‘This is the handiwork of the Maoists. We have found two posters. PCAPA has taken responsibility,’ Singh said after visiting the accident spot between Sardiha and Khemasuly railway stations.

‘PCAPA is a sort of frontal organisation of the Maoists. The Maoists are active in this belt. They had earlier stopped the Rajdhani (in October last year),’ the top police official said.

Asked whether the police had any intelligence inputs of possible Maoists strike, Singh said there was no such specific information.

‘But they can do such things all the time,’ he said.

He said the pandrol clips (used to fix the rail to the sleeper) were found open for over 50 metres.

Earlier, Bhupinder Singh told IANS that the fishplates were found removed and about one-and-a-half feet of the railway track cut at the site of the tragedy.

The PCAPA had been in the forefront of the Lalgarh movement that began in November 2008 over alleged police atrocities after a landmine blast on the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

The police and the state administration alleged from the outset that the Maoists were spearheading the movement in the camouflage of the PCAPA.

But the left-wing guerrillas first came overground in Lalgarh, about 200 km from Kolkata in West Midnapore district, days before the joint security forces began an operation to flush out the rebels last June.

Top PCAPA leader Chhattradhar Mahato is now behind bars, while its president Lalmohan Tudu died in police firing. In their absence, the PCAPA is now spearheaded by its spokesman Asit Mahato and treasurer Santosh Patra.