Train tragedy toll rises to 95

Jhargram (West Bengal), May 29 (IANS) The death count in Friday’s train tragedy near this West Bengal town rose to 95 as rescue workers continued to extricate bodies from mangled coaches of the Mumbai-bound Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express Saturday.

‘The number of casualties is now 95, while 167 people have varied degrees of injuries,’ Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh told IANS over telephone.

Another police official said the toll is likely to cross 110 as ‘you can now only expect bodies to tumble out of the coaches smashed by a goods train’.

The train went off the tracks between Sardiha and Khemasuli railway stations of South Eastern Railway after suspected Maoists removed 1.5 feet of rail track, rudely shaking the hundreds of sleeping passengers. Five coaches fell on a parallel track.

Unfortunately, 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 them.

Many of the injured passengers, admitted in hospitals in the nearest towns of Kharagpur and Midnapore, were serious. Fourteen very critical patients, including some children, have been shifted to the state’s premier S.S.K.M. Hospital in Kolkata.

‘The condition of almost all of them is grave. Some of them have bandages covering the entire body,’ said a doctor at S.S.K.M. Hospital.

Police found two posters put out by the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against

Police Atrocities at the accident site, 155 km from Kolkata in West Midnapore district, 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.