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Indian Pakistani Friendship Train Bombed
02-19-2007, 05:13 AM,
#1
Indian Pakistani Friendship Train Bombed
http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1931712,0008.htm


64 killed as Samjhauta Express becomes terror target

Indo-Asian News Service

Panipat, February 19, 2007

PM express grief over train blast ยป

At least 64 passengers, including Pakistani nationals, were killed on Monday in a suspected terrorist attack on the Samjhauta Express - the 'friendship train' between India and Pakistan - near Panipat in Haryana.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav confirmed that 64 people have died in the train bombing.

The suspected terrorist bombing - said to be triggered by improvised explosive devices (IED) - was clearly aimed at derailing the peace process between India and Pakistan as Indian and Pakistani nationals, most of them poor people, were targeted in the attack. Foreign ministers' level talks between the two countries are to resume in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Mobile phones or remote controlled devices could have been used to activate the IEDs, police officials said.

A devastating fire engulfed two coaches - No 10 and 11 - of the Atari Special 4001 train just after 1 am on Monday. The passengers were on their way from Delhi to Lahore.

Most of the passengers were killed due to burns and suffocation inside the two coaches. Scores of other passengers were injured, 20 of them critically, and were rushed to the civil hospital in Panipat for treatment.

Several passengers, including women, children and old people, jumped out of the burning train even as it was still moving.

Fire tenders were rushed to the spot but they could control the fire only after two hours.

"I and my husband jumped out of the moving train," an elderly woman said.

The train had left Old Delhi Railway Station after 10 pm on Tuesday and was on its way to Atari - the last station on the Indian side, 25 km ahead of Sikh holy city Amritsar - from where the passengers would have boarded the Pakistani train to go to Lahore. From Atari, Lahore is just 30 km.

Police officials, after inspecting the site, said that IEDs were used by suspected terrorists as passengers had heard a blast in the train before its coaches caught fire.

The police later recovered a suitcase from another coach of the train, that had not caught fire, in which two more IEDs were kept. They were defused by bomb disposal experts.

Senior railway officials reaching the site from Delhi said that the terrorist had planned to blow up more coaches of the train.

"Three IEDs have been defused," the railway general manager said.

The other eight coaches of the train were allowed to continue their journey to Atari with passengers on Monday morning.

Dozens of passengers with burn injuries were pulled out from the train by local residents who heard their cries from the burning train. The injured were rushed to the civil hospital in Panipat for treatment.

Most passengers in the train (Atari special 4001) were said to be Pakistani nationals headed for Lahore.

District police chief MS Sheoran said that the train caught fire near Shiva village crossing near this town.

He said that casualties could be more since the coaches had a capacity of 70 passengers.
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