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President, PM condole deaths

New Delhi, June 25 (PTI): President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed grief over the loss of lives in Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express mishap.

Mukherjee said: “I am saddened to learn about the derailment of a train near Chhapra (in Bihar) this morning, in which some persons have lost their lives and many others are injured. I call upon the state government and railway authorities to provide all possible assistance to the bereaved families as well as the best of medical attention to the injured.”

He hoped that the authorities concerned would take measures to urgently probe the cause behind the accident. “I am sure authorities will be also taking necessary measures to urgently investigate the cause of the incident and put in place necessary remedial measures,” the President said.        

Condoling the loss of lives in the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express mishap, the Prime Minister prayed for speedy recovery of the injured. A Prime Minister’s Office release said Modi was in touch with railway minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who has updated the Prime Minister on the relief work at the accident site.

Senior BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy briefed Modi about the derailment of the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express in Bihar. He also hinted at Maoist role in the mishap.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh, however, said it was too early to blame the Maoists for the derailment of the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani in Bihar that left four persons dead. “I have spoken directly to rail officials on the spot. The Prime Minister has been informed regarding all developments. Even he agrees that it is too early to blame the Naxalites. Let us wait for further report,” he said.

Lalu blames railways

The RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, blamed railway officials for the mishap involving the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express that left four passengers dead. “I have been the railway minister and I know that a pilot engine is run 30 minutes ahead of Rajdhani Express trains to check if the line is clear and tracks are safe. It seems this was not done in this case and the accident happened,” Lalu said.

“I want to know why the pilot engine was not run on the tracks before the Rajdhani Express was scheduled to cross the area,” added Prasad. Expressing grief over the accident, which happened at around 2.15am near Goldenganj in Saran district, around 100km northwest from Patna, Lalu said: “It is a big loss for the railways.”        

Reacting to the possibility of sabotage by Maoists, Lalu said even in that case it was the responsibility of the railways to ensure safety of passengers. “The Maoists had announced the blockade and given prior information. If the accident has happened because of sabotage, I severely condemn it, but at the same time the railways should have taken additional precaution to thwart any such accident,” Lalu said.