New Delhi, Feb 7: It may have been the Naxalites who caused the derailment of the Bhubaneshwar bound Hirakhand train accident that took place at Kuneru in Andhra Pradesh. It may be recalled that on January 21 the train derailment had led to the death of 32 passengers.
The NIA has booked a case against Left-wing extremists under Section 150 of the Railways Act. A case under Sections 16 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act too has been booked. NIA officials say that the probe is being conducted and prima facie it appears that the derailment could have been caused by the Naxalites.
Kuneru, where the accident occurred is situated in Komrada Mandal of Vizianagaram district, 10 kilometres away from the Andhra-Odisha border. The area is known for Naxal activitiy. However, Intelligence Bureau officials had pointed out at the time of the accident that there was no Naxal activity in this zone for the past year. However officials also did not rule out the return of such activity.
NIA officials suspect that Naxalites may have tampered with the track to cause the derailment. There was a 15-inch gap on the track that had led to the derailment. Apart from probing the possible involvement of Naxals, a probe to find out if the track had been damaged due to rust is also being conducted.
In this context one would also need to revisit an incident of 2005 when Naxalites had looted a train inthe very same area. Three security personnel were killed in that incident before the Naxals looted Rs 15 lakh from a train.
It may be recalled that following a probe by the Bihar police, it was suspected a module of the ISI was behind train accidents in India. It was learnt by the Bihar police that the Kanpur Express derailment was the handiwork of an ISI module that gave orders from Nepal. Even the Kuneru incident was suspected to be the handiwork of the ISI. However, now the NIA feels that it may have been the doing of the Naxalites.