regular-article-logo Monday, 11 December 2023

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee continues to press for the truth behind Odisha triple-train crash

Nearly 300 people died in accident at Bahanaga in Odisha’s Balasore district and more than one-third of them were from Bengal

Meghdeep Bhattacharyya Calcutta Published 09.06.23, 06:06 AM
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee File picture

Mamata Banerjee on Thursday continued to press the Narendra Modi government to reveal the real causes of the triple-train accident in Odisha and accused the Centre and its supporters of issuing contradictory statements on the tragedy.

Nearly 300 people died in the accident at Bahanaga in Odisha’s Balasore district and more than one-third of them were from Bengal.


“So many contradictory statements… I said this earlier too, and I will repeat it. All we want is the truth, as to what caused the accident. However, we have seen how the truth has been manipulated, and fake stories are being pushed to suppress the real cause of the accident,” the Bengal chief minister told a news conference at Nabanna, the state secretariat, in the afternoon.

“There should be a modicum of shame… which keeps their mouths shut for a week,” she said, adding that her foremost priority was to stand by hundreds of affected families from the state and that was why she was not making political comments.

“Something happened for sure, for three trains to collide. What happened was for them to find out. But just because they run the government, they will do as they please, that cannot happen. There has to be a system for investigation. Each day, a different person comes up with a different version, under political instructions,” she added. “This is not, by any means, a small matter.”

On Wednesday, Mamata had drawn parallels between the train tragedy and thealleged Pulwama hush-up of 2019. On Thursday, she likened the circumstances surrounding the crash to the alleged suppression of facts by the saffron regime about Manipur, which has been on the boil in ethno-communal violence that began on May 3.

“We have seen how the central government has been trying to suppress news about Manipur…. Hence, when I say that this government hides facts, it is true. The hearts of our countrymen are burning, they will give a fitting reply to them, I am waiting for that day,” she said.

“The BJP is a party of liars, who create false narratives. They should be ashamed of themselves for remaining silent over the atrocities taking place in Manipur and Uttar Pradesh… and for shying away from answers on the accident,” added Mamata.

In response to questions on alleged lapses in safety measures and maintenance of the railways, purportedly revealed in a 2021 CAG report, she said: “Never had I witnessed such a state of ruin in the railways…. These are scandals.”

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