New Delhi: A leader of the Naxal-backed People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) accused of planning and executing the derailment of the Howrah-Kurla Lomanya Tilak Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express train in West Bengal, has admitted that his group was behind the sabotage, but added that they were not planning to target civilians.
PCPA leader Bapi Mahato told The Indian Express that they were planning to target a goods train and not a passenger train.
Mahato told the newspaper that he was “sorry” for the attack on Gyaneshwari Express train near Jhargram on Friday that left 148 people dead and over 200 other injured hours after West Bengal Police held PCPA leaders Umakanto Mahato and him responsible for the incident.
“We’re sorry. We never wanted these innocent civilians to die. Trust me, we targeted the goods train. But somehow, we were fed wrong information that the goods train would cross through this track and we removed pandrol clips from a long stretch. We didn’t want to harm civilians. There must have been some miscalculation,” Mahato to The Indian Express.
He also held Communist Party of India-Marxist activists responsible for the attack.
West Bengal Police sources had on Saturday told CNN-IBN that Umakanto and Bapi planned and executed the derailment of the Gyaneshwari Express.
The duo with the help of some disgruntled PCPA cadres abducted a railway lineman Dayaram Mahato posted at Sardiha station from his house at about 9:30 PM on Thursday night after threatening him and his family. The PCPA leaders warned him that his entire family would be killed if he did not accompany them and carried out their orders.
The PCPA leaders then forced Dayaram Mahato to open pandrol clips, which fix the track to the sleepers; at around 1 AM on Friday as they knew that Gyaneshwari Express would be passing the area in about 15-20 minutes.
Umakanto Mahato along with a few PCPA members remained at the site with the lineman while Bapi Mahato went to Sardiha station and blocked a goods train. He let the goods train go after getting go ahead from fellow cadres from the accident site. The goods train ploughed into some bogies of the derailed Gyaneshwari Express which led to more people being killed and injured.