Sunday, January 29, 2023

Vande Bharat Express pelted with stones in Bihar, not Bengal: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday claimed that the Vande Bharat Express was pelted with stones in neighbouring Bihar, and not her state.
She said legal action will be taken against those media outlets that spread “fake news” that the incident took place in West Bengal, bringing a bad name to the state.
“Vande Bharat was pelted with stones in Bihar and not in West Bengal. We will take legal action against those media outlets that telecast fake news that the incident took place in West Bengal and brought a bad name to our state,” Banerjee told reporters before leaving Sagar Island.
“Vande Bharat is nothing special. It is just an old train refurbished with a new engine,” Banerjee, a former Railway minister herself, said. She concluded her two-day visit to the island to oversee the preparations for the Gangasagar Mela that begins on January 8.
The Vande Bharat Express was on Tuesday pelted with stones for the second consecutive day. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 30. Railway authorities on Thursday claimed they have identified those who threw stones at the train.
Eastern Railways CPRO Ekalabya Chakraborty told PTI that after scanning video footage, it was found that Monday’s stone-pelting incident on Vande Bharat Express took place in Malda district and Tuesday’s happened in Kishanganj district of Bihar, and efforts are underway to nab the perpetrators.
The first incident caused a glass door to crack, while the second damaged windows. No injuries to passengers, however, were reported in the incidents.
“After scanning the footage, it was found that the first incident took place in Malda district of West Bengal and the second in Kishanganj district of Bihar. Further scanning of available footage is underway to pinpoint the exact location and identify the perpetrators,” he said.
FIRs have been lodged in both cases and an awareness campaign started to prevent a recurrence of such incidents, the official said.
Vande Bharat Express between Howrah and New Jalpaiguri railway stations was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 30 and commercial service on the route started on January 1.
The incidents sparked a slugfest between the BJP and Trinamool Congress.
The saffron party stuck to its demand for a probe by National Investigation Agency (NIA).
“Probe is not yet over. We stick to our demand for an NIA probe to bring out the truth. We believe the stone-pelting incidents were a fallout of an incident that took place during the inauguration of the train in Howrah station last week,” BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.
BJP workers had raised ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogans at the inauguration ceremony, following which Banerjee refused to get on the dais from where the train was flagged off. TMC had criticised the raising of a “political slogan” at a government function, while BJP leaders had tried to downplay the incident.

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