Buxar (Bihar): A bomb blast took place on a railway track near Buxar station in Mughalsarai-Patna section in Bihar on Monday. The blast took place at 12.10 pm. However, no damage to property or life was reported. An inquiry has been ordered. Passengers on the 13134 Down Varanasi-Sealdah (Upper India) Express spent some tense moments between Buxar and Baruna on the Patna-Mughalsarai section of East Central Railway (ECR) today after what looked like a blast on the down track.
The train was stopped for a few minutes. The incident took place at 12.05pm, when the train had barely moved 2km from Buxar railway station towards Baruna in the east, around 100km west of Patna.
According to an eyewitness, a passenger travelling from Down Upper India train threw the bomb on the tracks, which caused an explosion loud enough to be heard till Golambar in Buxar. However, the railway track remained intact. Railways has ordered an enquiry into the matter.
“PWI/Buxar informed at about 12.10 hrs that a bomb blast occurred between Buxar-Baruna near Down line at about 12.05 PM,” Anil Saxena, Railways Spokesperson said.
He added, “Down movement on the route has been blocked. Up movement will be done by issuing caution order to 12487 ex Buxar. As a result of blast, three express trains 12141, 12402, 14004 have been detained.”
“The passengers did not experience anything unusual, but some railway personnel had raised an alarm on seeing a blast close to the tracks on which the train was moving. They were just 300m from the blast site,” an ECR official said on condition of anonymity.
As the train did not suffer any damage it was stopped for 15 minutes for necessary checks and then allowed to go. A source in the ECR said a passenger told railway personnel he saw an individual hurl something at the tracks triggering the blast. But the Government Railway Police (GRP) at Buxar said no passenger’s statement was recorded.
Railway personnel, senior GRP and Buxar police officials and a forensic science laboratory team reached the spot. “There was no damage to the tracks so train movement was allowed on the down track at 2.15pm,” ECR chief public relations officer Arvind Kumar Rajak told.
Patna rail superintendent of police Jitendra Mishra said: “Forensic experts are saying, prima facie, it appears someone burst a cracker near the track. No splinter was found at the blast site.”
Mishra, under whose jurisdiction the Buxar GRP works, said the forensic team would submit its final report after a thorough probe. Samples were collected from the blast site.
He said an FIR would be lodged under various sections of the Explosives Act on the basis of statements of railway employees working near the tracks. Mishra said he had urged the Buxar SP to intensify patrolling on railway tracks. The GRP has stepped up patrolling on railway tracks in the wake of recent intelligence inputs that terrorists were planning a repeat of the Kanpur-type mishap in Bihar. Over 150 lives were lost when a train derailed near Kanpur in November last.
Inspector-general (railway) Amit Kumar had said railway tracks were on the radar of terror groups. The National Investigation Agency is probing a case in which Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is suspected of involvement to cause damage to railway property. Three suspected operatives who were arrested from East Champaran last month had blamed ISI for the Kanpur accident.
- “From January 2016 to December 2016, there were at least 45 cases of alleged sabotage with the railway tracks,” Mohammad Jamshed, member, traffic in the Railway Board, told Mail Today. “There were 18 cases of extremist activities while in 13 cases IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were recovered along the railway tracks. There were seven cases of explosion on tracks and three of tampering.”
- Of theses, at least 40 incidents were reported to be of “extreme” nature, including Maoist activities in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Maharashtra and others. The figures also imply that there was one case of sabotage almost every week in the country.
- Jamshed, who is supervisory head of the rail operation in India, said in addition to human lives lost, these incidents also caused loss of over seven million tonne of freight orders worth Rs700crore. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is investigating role of Pakistan spy agency ISI in the Indore-Patna express accident in Kanpur that killed 200 people.
- According to the railway ministry, the explosion took place around 12.15 pm between Buxar and Nadwan station. The train was heading towards Patna from Varanasi. Officials claimed the marks on the track indicated use of some chemical-based explosive. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the Monday incident.
- A statement from the railway ministry said, “A sound of blast was heard by train driver, guard and the track maintenance staff who were working about 300 meters from the spot. Immediately, train movement was stopped. The spot was checked by the RPF and track maintenance staffs but found no damage to railway track.”
- Railway officials said there was no harm caused to the train and after thorough inspection, rail traffic was restored.
- The incident comes at a time when the NIA is probing the role of Pakistan spy agency ISI behind recent train derailments, including the Indore-Patna express accident in Kanpur that killed 200 people. Bihar Police arrested three persons who admitted to having planed IEDs at railway tracks at the behest of foreign handlers. The three accused are currently being interrogated. Following two major accidents in November and December last year near Kanpur, Prabhu had invited experts from Japan and South Korea to review the Indian railway tracks. Finally, Italian railway was assigned the task to audit the passenger safety on Indian Railway.
- The Korean team has submitted a 32-page detailed technical report to the railway ministry which, sources said, pointed towards the poor condition of tracks being essentially behind the derailments. Sources said the condition of the railway tracks was not fit for movement of trains at high speed.
- Indian Railways spends over Rs55,000 crore annually on safety. The Narendra Modi government has announced a rail safety fund of rupees one lakh crore over the next five years.
- India’s extensive rail network runs 12,000 trains a day and the full-length track could circle the globe over one and a half times. More than 23 million passengers travel on it every day on journeys that extend from one end of the country to another.