According to a statement issued by the Railways sleeper coaches S6, S7, S8 and SE jumped the track and tilted while S9 and two second-class bogies got derailed.
Railways CPRO Anil Saxena said, "We have started taking the affected passengers to hospitals. Initial phase of rescue operations have started. The district administration has also sent their teams to the spot."
AP Mishra, Member, Engineering Board, Railways added, "Difficult to ascertain the reason immediately. The locomotive driver and assistant locomotive driver are dazed. What they've told officials is that the track seemed out of shape - they applied the brakes, the engine did not derail but the coaches derailed. This (tracks out of shape) can happen for two reasons - extreme heat as we are experiencing at this time of the year, and some subversive activity. We are inquiring into the matter thoroughly."
The assistant Loco Pilot informed railway officials that he had spotted some obstruction in the track and tried to apply the brakes. "While the first 10 coaches passed off, the last seven got derailed", Mishra said.
Meanwhile, Railway Minister Mukul Roy did not rule out sabotage as a probable cause behind the accident. He has ordered a high-level inquiry into the accident.
Roy said a compensation of Rs 5 lakh would be given to the kin of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh to those seriously injured.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded a probe into the incident. Roy was likely to reach the spot on Thursday night.
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