Bengal: Vande Bharat Express pelted with stones in Malda; BJP demands NIA probe
Just a few days after its inaugural run, the Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat Express was pelted with stones in West Bengal's Malda district. The incident prompted the BJP to demand an NIA investigation into the incident, while the Trinamool Congress hinted at a “conspiracy to defame the state”.
No injuries, however, were reported in the incident that took place near Kumarganj railway station, around 50 km from Malda town, on Monday evening, a Railway official said.
The glass door of coach number C13 of 22303 Vande Bharat Express was damaged in the incident, he said.
Kumarganj falls under the jurisdiction of the Katihar division of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).
The train was not stopped mid-way after the incident took place at 5.10 pm on Monday and it halted at its designated stoppage at Malda Town railway station, the official said.
Malda Town railway station Government Railway Police (GRP) IC Prashant Rai said that Railway Protection Force (RPF) is investigating the matter.
The train was flagged-off virtually by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Howrah station on December 30.
West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar alleged that those involved in anti-CAA protests in 2019 were involved in the ransacking of the train.
"It is shameful that Vande Bharat express is being attacked or ransacked in no other state. The state government will do nothing against the perpetrators to secure its vote bank,” he said.
Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari wondered whether the incident was "revenge" for the raising of 'Jai Shree Ram' slogans at the inaugural function in Howrah station.
"Unfortunate & sickening. Stones pelted at India's pride Vande Bharat Express in WB's Malda district. Is this revenge for 'Jai Shree Ram' chants on the Inaugural day? I urge @PMOIndia & @RailMinIndia to handover the probe to @NIA_India & punish the perpetrators. @AshwiniVaishnaw," he tweeted.
Reacting to BJP's allegations, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said it was a "conspiracy" to defame the state government.
" We don't know who is involved in it. The police and railway officials are looking into it. We suspect that the BJP is trying to politicise the issue," he said.
BJP workers had raised 'Jai Shree Ram' slogans during the inauguration programme following which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refused to get up on the dais from where the train was flagged off.
The incident had created a major controversy, with the TMC taking exception to the raising of "political slogans" at a government programme, made more solemn by the death of the mother of the prime minister, while the BJP tried to downplay the incident, with Vaishnaw saying that nothing had occurred to cause any angst as party workers often raise slogans.
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