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Sabotage not ruled out in train blast: Patil

Shivraj Patil does not rule out sabotage as the cause of Monday morning blast on the Samjhauta Express.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2007 11:10 IST

Home Minister Shivraj Patil did not rule out sabotage as the cause of the early Monday morning blast on the Samjhauta Express that killed 64 passengers, including Pakistanis.

Patil, who arrived at Diwana village, 10 km from Panipat, where the suspected terror blasts had occurred on the 'peace train' between India and Pakistan a little before 1 am, was accompanied by Home Secretary VK Duggal and other senior railways and home ministry officials.

"Security agencies of the state (Haryana) and centre are investigating the cause of the fire. But sabotage is not ruled out," Patil told reporters at the blast site after inspecting the two burnt coaches.

The bodies of the 64 dead who were travelling in the train were charred beyond recognition and officials said they were not in a position to say how many of the dead were Indians and how many Pakistanis.

The remaining eight coaches of the train were allowed to proceed to Atari, 25 km ahead of Amritsar in Punjab, for their onward journey on the Samjhauta Express to Lahore.

"At least 527 passengers are on board the train proceeding to Atari," Haryana Chief Secretary Prem Prashant said at the blast site.

Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad was flying to the accident site from Patna, railway officialsin Panipatsaid.

Haryana's Additional Director General of Police VN Rai told reportersin Panipat that two-timer devices were recovered from the spot. "One of them was supposed to blow up at 12 midnight on Sunday in another coach but did not. These have been defused now."

First Published: Feb 19, 2007 11:10 IST