Abandoning her pre-election ambiguity, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday held Maoists responsible for the Gyaneswari Express sabotage on May 28, 2010, in which 149 passengers were killed.
“They (Maoists) have killed 160 passengers of Gyaneswari Express. They are not believers of any ism, they are just contract killers,” she said at a condolence meeting for two Trinamool Congress workers at Esplanade in the capital.
Suspected Maoists had killed the Trinamool workers two days ago in Purulia.
The Gyaneswari Express sabotage between Khemashuli and Sardiha near Jhargram in West Midnapore district had occurred when Banerjee was the railway minister. A portion of the track had been removed and it caused the train to derail. An oncoming goods train hit the loose carriages.
Earlier, Banerjee had indicated that the CPI(M), the ruling party in the state at the time of the sabotage, was behind the subversive act executed by Maoists.
Interlocutors to pull out of talks
Four months after they were handpicked by Mamata Banerjee to open dialogue with the Maoists, the six-member team of interlocutors has decided to opt out of the assignment. The team has written to the CM requesting their withdrawal from the assignment.
“The peace process has collapsed. The situation appears bleak and it is tough to continue with our job. While the Maoists killed two Trinamool workers in Purulia on Monday, the combined forces replied by taking out two Maoist cadres in an encounter the day after,” said rights activist Sujato Bhadra, who has been leading the team of interlocutors.