Rail services resume after 'sabotage' crash that killed 145

Normal rail services resumed across an eastern Indian state yesterday, two days after a train accident blamed on Maoist rebels that killed 145 people, officials said.

Thirteen carriages of a high-speed passenger train derailed and then were hit by an oncoming cargo train in West Bengal early on Friday. Police accuse the rebels of sabotaging the tracks.

The death toll climbed to 145 yesterday, said Police Inspector General Surojit Kar Purkayastha.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

He said at least 150 people, some with severe burns, were still in hospitals near the accident site in the small town of Sardiha, about 90 miles (150km) west of Calcutta.

Railway workers and soldiers working with blow torches, cranes and heavy equipment pried apart the coaches of the two trains and cleared the track of the wreckage, said railway spokesman Soumitra Mazumdar. "Normal rail traffic has resumed on the route, but we have advised drivers to slow down as they pass the Sardiha stretch," Mr Mazumdar said.

Railway workers replaced a 46cm (18in) portion of track that had been removed by suspected rebels, officials said.

Police accuse a Maoist group, the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities. Bhupinder Singh, the top police official in West Bengal, said the group's posters were found at the scene, taking responsibility for the attack.

However, a spokesman for the group denied any role.