Railway footage reveals stones were pelted on Vande Bharat Express in Bihar
- All 4 miscreants have now been identified and were found to be minors. Three of them have been arrested and produced before the juvenile justice board in Kishengunj, Bihar. The accused were slapped with section 152 of the Railways Act, 1989.
CCTV footage released by Eastern Railway from the on-board close circuit camera of the Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat Express has now established that stones pelted on the train on January 3 which vandalized coaches C-3 and C-6 were, in fact, perpetrated by miscreants at Kishangunj district of Bihar close to the Bengal-Bihar border and not from inside the geographical boundary of Bengal.
Although the suspects are yet to be identified, the footage reveals that four persons standing next to the tracks carried out the vandalism sometime between 12.54 pm and 12.55 pm before making themselves scarce.
Contrary to previous claims made by both the Railways and the BJP, the time stamp on the footage shows that the train was passing between Dhulabari and Mangurjan stations in the Katihar Division of Eastern Railway in Bihar at the time of the incident.
The visuals were extracted by repair personnel of the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai at the Howrah carshed on Wednesday evening. The ICF builds and maintains rakes of the Vande Bharat semi high speed trains running across the country.
It has, however, been established that a stone which stattered one of the glass doors of the train's C-13 coach January 2 was pelted from the Kumargunj area of Malda district.
"We have initiated an inquiry simultaneously with the respective state police of both Bengal and Bihar to identify and nab the culprits. The administrative divisions of states are not our concern since we work with all state governments to ensure passenger safety and security," said Ekalavya Chakraborty, CPRO, Eastern Railways.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the BJP for allegedly spreading 'fake news' and threatened 'appropriate action'.
"The incident has not happened in Bengal, but in Bihar. The people of Bihar could be disgruntled because they haven't been given the train since the BJP is not in power in that state and this could be a repercussion of that angst. We cannot insult the whole of Bihar for this one act. What is Vande Bharat? Except for the engine, the entire train is built with refurbished old rakes which were previously withdrawn. I used to sanction no less than 100 trains during my tenure (as Railways minister) and this government hasn't sanctioned a single new train in the past 11 years except for this one. I condemn those who have used this as an excuse to malign Bengal and we will take appropriate action for spreading fake news," Banerjee said during her ongoing tour of the Sagar Island.
"Now that the truth is out, will the shameless BJP leaders, Amit Malviya, Suvendu Adhikari, Dilip Ghosh and Sukanta Majumder apologise to us Bengalis for belittling West Bengal before the whole country?" added Krishanu Mitra, AITC Spokesperson.
The BJP was yet to respond at the time of filing of this report.