Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Drawing attention to several unexplained episodes in the “forced” stoppage of the Rajdhani Express on the Jhargram-Kharagpur section in West Bengal on Tuesday, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has sought a probe to “uncover the collaboration” between the Trinamool Congress (TC) and the Maoists.

“All those who have travelled by Rajdhani know that it hurtles at speeds of around 120 kilometres per hour and even when obstructions are noticed, application of emergency brakes would lead to damage to both the tracks and the train. In this case, however, the train peacefully ground to a halt,” pointed out an editorial in the People’s Democracy, the central organ of the CPI(M).

From the graffiti on the train, it could be inferred that this was done to demand the release of Chhatradhar Mahato, leader of the Maoist-backed People’s Committee. “Mr. Mahato was a local TC leader before becoming the head of the so-called People’s Committee,” it observed.

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s first reaction was that the CPI(M) cadre had blocked the train to malign her image. However, when the graffiti exposed the perpetrators as Maoists, she wanted a dialogue.

Prior knowledge

Further, a Union Minister of State belonging to Trinamool told the media that he had prior knowledge that such an attack would take place. “Surely, the Prime Minister needs to probe the source of such ‘knowledge’ by his ministerial colleague and inform the nation,” said the editorial.

It also noted the Maoist spokesman Kishenji’s declaration that his party wished to see Ms. Banerjee as the future Chief Minister of West Bengal and had helped Trinamool in Nandigram and Lalgarh.

“They expect the TC to return the favour. Clearly, this has once again confirmed that the Maoists began their operations in Bengal under the political patronage and protection provided by the Trinamool.”

“It is precisely due to this political collaboration between the two that the TC, till we go to press, has not condemned this Maoist outrage of stopping and damaging the train.”