The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses its shock and grief at the tragic loss of precious lives in the terrible train accident caused by sabotage by Maoists in the Jhargram area of West Midnapore district of West Bengal close to the Jharkhand border. It extends its deep condolences to the bereaved families and sympathy and concern for those who have suffered injuries. It strongly condemns this dastardly act by Maoists who have once again demonstrated their utter contempt for human lives.

This terrible tragedy has been compounded by the irresponsible absence of due diligence on the part of the railway authorities. In violation of their own declared policy to ensure specific safety measures in Maoist affected areas, in this case the pilot train which should have preceded the passenger train to check the safety of the track was not done. This perhaps could have averted this tragedy and saved the lives of passengers. Further, a goods train that collided with the derailed passenger train on the parallel track, resulting in graver damage of death and injury, could have been prevented. The persistent denial of the existence of Maoist activities in West Bengal by the Railway Minister may have led to the lack of preparedness of the authorities.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that a thorough enquiry be conducted into this horrendous incident. The Prime Minister should personally intervene to ensure that the railways, in coordination with security agencies, fulfill their responsibility by stepping up precautionary safety measures to protect passengers and railway property in all Maoist affected areas.