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Explosion damages railway lines

Motihari, June 25: Nearly 200m of rail tracks between Mehsi and Chakia stations near Mani Chhapra village in East Champaran was blown up, allegedly by Maoists on Tuesday night.

Eighteen bogies laden with iron rods were derailed in the explosion. The speed of the goods train was around 30-35 kmph at the time of the blast. The explosion, incidentally, comes on a day Maoists had given a 24-hour bandh call.

The blast site, around 120km north of Patna is located on the Muzaffarpur-Narkatiaganj section of East Central Railway. The train, carrying 42 bogies had left Muzaffarpur around 9pm and was on way to Raxaul, said goods train driver Rajesh Kumar Jha.

When asked who were responsible for the blast, railway officials kept mum. However East Champaran SP Vinay did not rule out the possibility of Maoists behind the incident.

Vinay said: “We would be able to say if rebels had a hand in the explosion only after removing the debris. A team of experts would probe the site and look for clues as well.”

Driver Jha said: “The blast occurred around 11.53pm and we had to apply the emergency brake.”