India’s Maoist rebels reportedly sabotaged a high-speed train today by removing a piece of track in West Bengal, causing a derailment that left at least 115 people dead, a number officials acknowledged could still rise further.
Over 200 people were also wounded, overwhelming the local hospital, whose director reported “we just aren’t set up for something like this.”
Officials say that the rebels removed a foot long piece of track, causing the passenger train to flip and slam into an on-coming cargo train on the other track. Maoist posters and leftlets were left at the site.
The attack will likely prove the deadliest attack by the Maoist rebels, called Naxalites, in quite some time, and one of the rare occasions when the rebels hit a purely civilian target. Generally, Naxalite attacks have centered on Indian security forces sent into the woods to hunt them.
The Naxalites began as a rebel group in the 1967 rebellion in Naxalbari but the group now has significant influence throughout eastern and central India. The group is attempting to carve out an independent Maoist nation in the so-called “Red Corridor” of India, an impoverished area where the group is based.
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