Assam rebels bomb railway track, narrow escape for Rajdhani Express

December 24th, 2008 - 10:57 am ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Dec 24 (IANS) A major disaster was averted Wednesday when a powerful explosion missed the super fast Rajdhani Express from New Delhi by a couple of minutes, although the blast damaged a portion of a railway track in Assam, officials said.A police spokesman said the blast took place at around 1 a.m. near Khatkhati village in the eastern Karbi Anglong district, about 300 km from Assam’s main city of Guwahati.

“The Rajdhani Express had just crossed Khatkhati when the explosion took place. Probably it was a remote controlled device and those who triggered the blast failed to execute, thereby averting a tragedy,” a police official said by telephone from Diphu, the district headquarters of Karbi Anglong.

A railway spokesman said a stretch of the track was damaged in the blast.

“We shall be able to resume normal train service soon as repair work is going on,” the railway official said.

The Rajdhani Express was bound for Tinsukia in eastern Assam from New Delhi and was carrying about 700 people.

“Definitely the target was the Rajdhani Express as the blast took place two minutes after the train passed the explosion site,” the police official said.

Police blamed the All Adivasi National Liberation Front (AANLA), a rebel group fighting for a separate homeland for the tea plantation workers community in Assam.

“The blast was probably in retaliation to the arrest of five top AANLA leaders, including their chief, from Jharkhand recently,” the official said.

The five arrested include Mangra Oraon, the outfit’s self-styled commander-in-chief. They have been brought to Assam and remanded to police custody. The five AANLA rebels were accused of triggering a blast on the Rajdhani Express in December 2007 in which five people were killed in Karbi Anglong.

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