At least 65 people are known to have died in a train crash in India that the government has described as an act of sabotage.
Maoist rebels are suspected of causing the Calcutta to Mumbai express to come off the rails. A goods train coming from the other direction then ploughed into the three carriages. One local report says a Maoist group has claimed responsibility.
It is feared the death toll could rise as many passengers were trapped. At least two hundred people have been injured.
The train crashed overnight more than a hundred kilometres west of Calcutta in an area known to be a stronghold of Maoist rebels. One official said a portion of the tracks was found missing.
“I am really sorry for the innocent lives that are lost,” said Mamata Banerjee, Indian Railways minister. “The rescue operation is going on. We have decided for this unfortunate incident, number one the passengers, whoever wants to go to Mumbai, a special train has been arranged.”
Police say they have recovered nearby two posters left by a Maoist group. The rebels, who say they are fighting for the rights of the poor, have stepped up attacks in recent months in response to a government offensive and had called for a “black week” of protests. The movement is now present in a third of the country.