Kolkata, May 12 (IANS) At least 13 people were injured, four of them seriously, when a miscreant hurled a bomb at one of his rivals during a brawl inside a moving suburban passenger train in West Bengal on Tuesday, the authorities said.
Train services were hit for close to an hour after the incident, railway sources said.
Six of the injured were hospitalised — four of them carry grievous injury. Seven others were given first aid, an Eastern Railway (ER) media release said.
Earlier, Eastern Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Ravi Mahapatra put the injury figure at 14, while Jaya Verma Sinha, the divisional railway manager of Sealdah, told a local television channel that 20 people sustained injuries.
“Six persons were injured. Four with grievous injuries and two with simple injuries are admitted to B.R. Singh Railway Hospital, Sealdah. Their condition is stable. Seven persons also received first-aid at the spot,” said the ER release.
The explosion took place at 3.55 a.m. on the Up Sealdah-Krishnnaagar local between Titagarh and Barrackpore stations.
“The bomb exploded in the coach – fifth from the engine – as soon as the train left Titagarh station,” the release said.
A railway official told IANS that the blast took place after an altercation and scuffle between anti-socials who had boarded the train. “One miscreant suddenly hurled the bomb which caused injuries to those in the coach.”
Eastern Railway General Manager R.K. Gupta, who visited the spot, said the incident was the result of a gang war.
Gupta asked the divisional authorities and security officials to step up security of passengers in station and trains.
He said the coach was not damaged.
Two trains were cancelled following the incident.
“The rake was brought back to Sealdah car shed and normal train services resumed on the up line within an hour after security clearance. There was no disruption of train services in the down line,” the ER said.
The opposition parties attacked the state government on the issue, saying it showed how the state has become a storehouse of bombs and anti-socials were having a field day.
“Bomb making has become a cottage industry in the state. The recent explosion in an illegal bomb-making factory camouflaged as a cracker unit in Pingla of West Midnapore district proves this. There should be a proper probe,” said Communist Party of India-Marxist state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra, who went to the hospital to see the condition of the victims.
BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said the explanation about the train blast lacked logical reasoning and demanded a probe by central agencies like the National Investigation Agency.
“Today’s train blast raises many questions regarding terror infrastructure spreading in West Bengal. The explanation given by the state police lacks logical reasoning.
“In the early hours at 3.55 a.m., two rival groups will not board a train to hurl bombs and settle their scores,” said Singh, who is also the party’s in-charge for the state.