127 dead in Indore-Patna Express crash: was sabotage behind fractured track?
Suspected foul play has emerged as a cause of the derailment of Indore-Patna Express, in which at least 127 people were killed on Sunday.
Nearly 200 passengers were also injured, in what was one of the worst train accidents of recent times.
The tragedy occurred at around 3am on Sunday when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed at Pukhrayan station of Kanpur Dehat, when the passengers were fast asleep.
Although coaches S1 to S6 of the train were badly damaged, S2 and S3 were mangled, as one of them had telescoped into the other. Four AC and four general coaches also derailed, but the damage to them was not severe.
The driver of the train was said to be missing.
Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said a 'fracture' in the track may have caused the unfortunate tragedy. He said a high-level inquiry had been ordered and responsibility will be fixed. "Anyone found guilty will not be allowed to go unpunished," he said.
Although the railways authorities said the exact cause of derailment was yet to be ascertained, Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Kanpur and senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi said that if 14 coaches derailed in one go, one needed to see if the rail was broken by someone out to defame the Ministry of Railways. Joshi sought a thorough probe into the accident.
A former divisional railway manager of Northern Railway, however, ruled out sabotage. On the condition of anonymity, he said the 'jumbling up' of coaches happens when rails contract, mainly early on winter mornings. If welds in the rails are not good, they crack.
"The fatigue point usually comes after a few bogies have passed. Once the rail breaks, it blocks the subsequent coaches, resulting in their jumbling up."
The weld at this particular part of the track may have gone undetected, he said.