Lucknow/Patna, July 28: A powerful explosion ripped through a compartment of a Delhi-bound express from Patna today, killing at least 10 people and tossing several out of the moving train.
“The toll has risen to 10,” Rajendra Singh, additional divisional railway manager, said in Lucknow. Nearly a hundred passengers were injured.
In Patna, railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav said it was unclear whether the explosion on the Shramjeevi Express near Jaunpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh was caused by a bomb or a gas cylinder. Laloo Prasad, who boarded a special train for the blast site later, said a probe has begun.
“We still can’t say if it was a bomb that exploded in the toilet of an unreserved coach,” Uttar Pradesh police chief Yashpal Singh said. “Going by the impact, we suspect it was quite a powerful bomb.”
Inspector-general, Varanasi range, Devraj Nagar said the blast was “very powerful” and the “role of fundamentalist outfits cannot be ruled out”.
The seizure of 22 bombs from a Gaya-Dhanbad passenger train earlier in the day heightened the possibility of involvement of militants in the Jaunpur blast.
Witnesses said several passengers sitting near the toilet were seriously burnt by a ball of fire that engulfed them after the deafening explosion around 5.15 in the afternoon.
“I saw four persons burnt completely and lying unconscious on the floor of the coach,” said Satish Mishra, a railway employee in Jaunpur.
“Six persons were thrown outside the train,” a railway source said in Varanasi, where some of the injured passengers have been taken. But many passengers managed to save themselves by jumping off the train, a witness said.
The authorities have opened an emergency centre in Patna (0612 1072) for information concerning the blast.