Sabotage suspected after Indian train crash kills 12

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The Independent Online

A criminal investigation was under way in northern India yesterday after a train derailed, killing 12 people and injuring scores more – a disaster officials said could be the work of saboteurs.

A criminal investigation was under way in northern India yesterday after a train derailed, killing 12 people and injuring scores more – a disaster officials said could be the work of saboteurs.

Metal plates were found unscrewed from the track where the express train jumped the rails in the early hours of yesterday near Lucknow, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 220 miles east of the capital, Delhi.

Most of the 1,800 passengers were sleeping when 13 of the 24 carriages derailed. Most of the casualties were in the first four carriages, which overturned, some into a dry canal. Some 70 people were injured, including 48 who were taken to hospital. Rescue workers pulled the dead and injured from the wreckage throughout the night.

The high-speed passenger train, which was travelling from Delhi to Patna in eastern Bihar state, had been diverted because of the derailment of a goods train a few days earlier.

Nitish Kumar, the Railways Minister, said an inquiry had been ordered. "Some plates which were removed from the track have been shown to the local police," he said in Patna.

Devender Singh Sandhu, a Northern Railways spokesman, said an initial inquiry had ruled out technical failure.

Relatives of the passengers clamoured for information at special counters set up at Patna and Delhi stations.

Indian Railways is second to China as the world's largest railway network. It has nearly 300 accidents a year on average, two-thirds of which are blamed on staff negligence.

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