At least 70 persons were injured, several of them seriously, when four coaches of the Guwahati-Puri Express were derailed and four others capsized due to a powerful explosion at Dhatkuchi between Rangiya and Goghrapar railway stations in Assam at 8.20 pm on Sunday.
Railway authorities have rushed a relief train with a medical team to administer first aid to passengers at the accident site, while the seriously injured ones are being shifted to hospitals in Rangiya and Guwahati, according to a Northeast Frontier Railway spokesman.
Passengers travelling in the ill-fated train claimed to have heard a big bang just before the four coaches behind the engine were thrown off the track. The explosion occurred just behind the engine of the train that left the track damaged.
The train was carrying nearly 1,000 passengers, mostly pilgrims bound for Puri.
Personnel of the Army, CRPF and the police reached the spot and cordoned off the area. A generator was sent to provide lights in the area. A large crater beside the tracks and a huge length of fusewire leading to a jungle were found by the Bomb Disposal Squad.
Members of the squad said it could have been used to trigger a blast on the tracks.
The anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland is active in the area.
Superintendent of Police, Kamrup (Rural) Apurva Jivan Baruah said, "We cannot say whether there was a blast or it was an act of sabotage."
An army official said, "It will be too premature to draw any conclusion on whether there was a bomb. We have not found any batteries."
An accident relief medical emergency van of the Railways left for the accident spot at 10 pm from Guwahati, railway officials said.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma has instructed the Guwahati Medical College Hospital and the Rangiya Civil Hospital at Kamrup (Rural) district to arrange for treatment of the injured passengers.
Trains services along the North Bank of Brahmaputra River have been disrupted due to the mishap.
According to the Northeast Frontier Railway, following trains will remain cancelled today: 55801/55802 Manas Rhino Express, 55809/55810 Guwahati - New Bongaigaon Passenger, 15771/15772 Alipurduar Jn. - Kamakhya Intercity Express, 15769/15770 Lumding - Alipurduar Jn. Intercity Express, 55753/55754 Sifung Passenger, 55805/55806 New Bongaigaon Passenger, 55815 / 55816 Guwahati - Haiborgaon Passenger.
The NFR headquarter informed that all other mail/express trains will be diverted via Azara - Goalpara Town - New Bongaigaon route along the South Bank of Brahmaputra River.