23 killed, 40 injured as 14 Coaches of Utkal Express derail in UP – Terrorists’ Role Suspected

Utkal Express accident: Terrorists’ role suspected as an incident was also reported on the same route wherein miscreants pelted stones at Dehradun-Delhi Shatabdi Express near Khatauli Railway Station 5 hours before derailment of Utkal Express. In addition, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detected at Guwahati Railway Station on August 18, 2017 packed in bag, which was booked by Rail Mail Service. UP ATS rushed to spot. On being asked about the possibility of terrorist’s involvement, the CPRO of Northern Railways Neeraj Sharma said that the accident would be probed from all the angles.

Coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express after it derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Saturday.

MUZAFFARNAGAR: At least 23 passengers were killed and over 40 injured when 14 coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Saturday evening, the Uttar Pradesh police said. The casualty figure might go up.

Earlier, UP Principal secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar had said, “11 dead bodies and 65 injured have been brought to Khatauli hospital,”

The accident took place around 5.45 pm. Khatauli is around 40 km from Muzaffarnagar. Television visuals show that derailed bogies have crashed into a house.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry into the derailment. He said he was personally monitoring the situation and strict action will be taken in case of any lapse.

As many as 14 coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed.

Prabhu later announced ex gratia of Rs 3.5 Lakh for those who lost their lives in the derailment, Rs 50,000 for seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for people with minor injuries.

In a series of tweets, Prabhu also said that Minister of State Manoj Sinha has rushed to the spot while the chairman of Railway Board and member traffic have been asked to oversee rescue and relief operations.

Two National Disaster Response Force teams, comprising 45 personnel each, and two canines have been mobilised to the accident site from their base in Ghaziabad. Medical vans have also been rushed to the site.

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‘All efforts being taken to ensure speedy relief and rescue operations,’ Prabhu said.

Five hours prior to the derailment at Khatauli, an incident was reported wherein some miscreants pelted stones at the Dehradun-Delhi Shatabdi Express near Muzaffarnagar railway station here, damaging some window panes. No one was injured in the incident which occurred after the train crossed the railway station, according to railway protection force. The police have registered a case against unidentified people.

Gathering of people near derailed Utkal Express site in Muzaffarnagar on Saturday.

The Railway Ministry was also in close touch with the Uttar Pradesh government to coordinate rescue and relief operations.

In Lucknow, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said that top priority was being accorded to ensure prompt rescue and relief work.

He said teams of Provincial Armed Constabulary and NDRF have been rushed to the spot.

Since darkness was impeding rescue operations, he said the power department officials had been directed to ensure that there was no shortage of electricity.

Kumar also said IMA chapters in Meerut zone have been alerted and asked to ensure adequate and prompt medical care to the injured.

Kumar said a team of UP Anti-Terrorism Squad was also sent to the spot, though there is no confirmation of the terrorism angle.

Coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express train that derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar

Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena said at this stage, nothing can be said about the cause of the derailment.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath enquired about the accident and directed officials to take all possible action, an official spokesperson said.

Adityanath has directed two of his ministers to reach the site to expedite rescue and relief operations.

Adityanath directed senior ministers Suresh Rana and Satish Mahana to rush to the train accident site.

He also spoke with the Muzaffarnagar district magistrate and instructed him to ensure all possible relief to affected people, an official spokesperson said.

Hospitals have been instructed to provide free treatment to the injured passengers, the spokesperson said.

A coach of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express train after it derailed and crashed into a house in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Saturday.

He said four NDRF teams were also being rushed there — three from Ghaziabad and one from Delhi.

Besides, 35 ambulances, bread, butter, 1,000 food packets, additional private and state-run buses were being arranged, he said.

Volunteers were being mobilized from adjoining Meerut, the spokesperson said.

Medical colleges, district hospitals and large number of private hospitals were being prepared to receive patients, he said.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice President Rahul Gandhi expressed condolences over the loss of lives in the accident.

People resqueing the passengers trapped inside the mangled Coaches of the Utkal Express

‘Sad at train derailment in UP; my thoughts are with deceased and their families. Injured are being rescued and provided relief,’ President Kovind tweeted.

The PM said the railway ministry and the state government were doing everything possible and providing all assistance required.

He said the situation was being monitored very closely by the railways ministry.

‘Extremely pained by the derailment of the Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,’ the prime minister tweeted. ‘I wish those injured a speedy recovery. The situation is being monitored very closely by the Railway Ministry,’ Modi said.

The railways and the UP government are ‘doing everything possible and providing all assistance required in the wake of the train derailment’, the PM added.

Reportedly, the UP Police suspect the role of terrorists behind the derailment of 6 coaches of Utkal Express near Khatauli in UP’s Muzaffarnagar district on Saturday.

The UP Anti-Terror Squad has been rushed to the accident spot to probe the terror angle.

On being asked by the media about the possibility of militant’s involvement, the CPRO of Northern Railways Neeraj Sharma said that the accident would be probed from all the angles.

On being asked by the media about the possibility of militant’s involvement, the CPRO of Northern Railways Neeraj Sharma said that the accident would be probed from all the angles.

Some media reports have also claimed that recently track repairing work was carried out where the Puri Haridwar Kalinga Utkal Express derailed.

The reports claimed that after the repairing work, rail tracks were not properly filled with sand. However, the Northern Railways CPRO denied the reports of repairing work being done on the tracks. The train was coming from Puri and was going to Haridwar. It met with the accident around 6:45 pm.

Member of security forces moves a bag containing improvised explosive device (IDE) from arm of a bomb disposal robot to an explosion-proof tank outside a railway station in Guwahati on August 18, 2017. A potential accident was averted on Friday by local police after an IED packed in bag, which was booked by Rail Mail Service, was detected at the station, said local official.