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Kanpur train accident was a conspiracy from across the border: PM Modi in UP

A conspiracy hatched “across the border” was responsible for a train derailment last November near Kanpur that killed 150 people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday

india Updated: Feb 25, 2017 01:45 IST
Rajesh Ahuja and Manish Chandra Pandey
Rajesh Ahuja and Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said last November’s Kanpur train tragedy was a conspiracy from “across the border”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said last November’s Kanpur train tragedy was a conspiracy from “across the border”. (PTI)

NEW DELHI/GONDA: Conspirators from “across the border” were responsible for a train derailment near Kanpur that killed 150 people and injured more than 200 last November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday.

His remarks follow the arrest of four men in Nepal and Bihar this January, who had allegedly told police that the Pakistani spy agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), was behind the Kanpur accident — the worst train tragedy in the country in six years.

“It was a conspiracy and the conspirators carried it out sitting across the border,” he said at a poll rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda, which votes on February 27 in the fifth round of the seven-phase assembly elections in the state.

The Indore-Patna Express jumped rails near Kanpur Dehat in Pukhrayan on November 21.

The Modi government has asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the sabotage angle.

The agency has sought help from experts with IIT-Kanpur (IIT-K) to know the technical aspects of the accident. The IIT team, which visited the site on Wednesday, will submit its report after the results of the assembly polls in five states are declared on March 11.

“We will take at least a month to submit our report to the NIA,” said Sandeep Sangal, one of the experts.

A previous technical assessment available with the NIA shows the train was travelling at 106 kmph but came to a complete halt within 14 seconds. Of the 23 coaches, seven derailed after its S-6 and S-7 compartments separated.

“There was a leakage of pressure vacuum because of the de-coupling, which triggered the brakes to clamp automatically. The train halted within 193 metres of the de-coupling in 14 seconds, and that’s pretty quick,” an NIA official said.

“By comparison, the Ajmer-Sealdah Express, which derailed on December 28 just 30km from the Patna-Indore train’s accident site, halted after travelling 550 metres.”

The Centre has also asked the anti-terrorism agency to investigate the recovery of an unexploded bomb from railway tracks near Ghorasahan in Bihar last October, and the derailment of Hirakund Express in Andhra Pradesh this year.

Suspicion of a Pakistani hand in the tragedy gained ground after Nepalese police arrested in January a criminal, Brij Kishore Giri, for murdering two of his Indian associates. Giri told interrogators that he was contracted by Shamsul Hoda, a Pakistani operative, who had asked him to hire crooks to carry out subversive activities, including train derailments in India.

An alert from authorities in Kathmandu led Bihar Police to three of Giri’s alleged associates holed up in East Champaran district.

New Delhi has often accused Pakistani agencies of fomenting trouble in India through agents in Nepal, a charge denied by Islamabad.

The location of Gonda, along the India-Nepal border, probably prompted Prime Minister Modi to caution people about cross-border crime, underscoring the suspected foreign conspiracy in the Kanpur train tragedy.

“Gonda is adjoining Nepal ... Gonda needs to elect only those who are full of patriotism,” he said, asking people not to vote for those who help conspirators. “There should be no mistake in elections, whether it is the SP or BSP, none of them should win.”

He asked people to vote for the BJP, saying only a strong government at the Centre as well as the state could curb cross-border crime.

He also promised that a BJP government in Uttar Pradesh would initiate steps to overhaul the state’s education system and curb cheating in exams.

The BJP is out of power in the state since 2002, where the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have been in power almost alternately for the past 15 years. Modi’s party is competing with a SP-Congress alliance and the BSP this election.

The ruling SP has claimed to have improved the state’s education sector, especially highlighting the state government’s scheme for free laptops to meritorious students and bicycle to girls.

In his response, the Prime Minister tried to corner chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, saying he received his education abroad and his children are studying in private schools, but an education mafia has ruined the future of poor students.

BJP parliamentarian for Kaiserganj, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who was by Modi’s side, owns more than two dozen colleges in Gonda and nearby districts.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Feb 24, 2017 16:22 IST

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