At least one person was killed and many others injured when a passenger train rammed into a bus in Supaul district of north Bihar on Wednesday morning.
The mishap took place at a railway crossing near Saraigarh, on Saharsa-Raghopur section of east central railway (ECR), about 20 km north of the district headquarters town of Supaul.
Persons claiming to be eyewitnesses said they saw a burning bus being dragged by the train for quite some distance as passengers "jumped out to save their lives".
These 'eyewitnesses' claimed at least six passengers were killed in the accident and accused the authorities of "concealing the actual toll".
However, ECR chief public relation officer (CPRO) Amitabh Prabhakar said just one person had died and nine others were injured in the mishap. "The next of kin of the victim will be given ex gratia payment", he added.
Accusing the gateman at the crossing being absent from duty when the accident took place, he CPRO said he had been suspended, pending an inquiry and departmental action.
"The injured are undergoing treatment at the Supaul district hospital", SP Vinod Kumar told HT. The ill fated 'Deep Mala A/C coach' was on its way to Supaul from Patna, he said.
About 26 passengers were stated to be on board the bus. The driver and conductor of the bus escaped soon after the accident. The incident sparked off a protest by hundreds of local residents, who detained the train.