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Train set ablaze to protest BJP MP's arrest
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | February 01, 2007 23:52 IST
The Gorakhpur communal violence took a new turn on Thursday night when a band of Hindu Vahini activists set ablaze the Gorakhpur bound Godaan express train coming from Mumbai.
In what appears to be an attempted repeat of Godhra, two passenger coaches of the train were completely gutted, while one was burnt partly. However no loss of human life or injury to any passenger was reported as the train was stopped and everyone managed to jump out to safety.
The incident occurred around 2020 hours near Mohammadabad town in Mau district, about 350 km from Lucknow.
According to the police, it was the handiwork of Hindu Vahini, a Hindu hardline outfit, headed by saffron clad sadhu-turned-Bhartiya Janata Party parliamentarian Yogi Adityanath, who was arrested earlier this week for allegedly attempting to fuel communal violence in Gorakhpur.
Two persons were killed in the Gorakhpur violence that compelled authorities to clamp curfew in the Eastern Uttar Pradesh town for the past four days. The Hindu Vahini activists were demanding release of their arrested leader. Several senior BJP leaders too have been protesting against his arrest.
According to eyewitnesses, the train had barely started from Mohammadabad station where it made a two-minute scheduled halt, when flames started coming out of two of the coaches. Within the next two minutes, the train came to a halt and people started jumping out of the compartments.
"Two second-class sleeper coaches were completely gutted by the time fire tenders reached the spot. However, the third second-class coach could be saved," said a senior railway official.
Since the train was barely 70-80 km from its destination and bulk of the passengers had disembarked at earlier stations, it did not take much time for the passengers to run to safety, officials said.