Kolkata, Nov 16: Nineteen months after she suggested that CPI(M) was behind the Jnaneswari Express disaster, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said Maoists were ‘prima facie' responsible, but later clarified she did not also rule out the hand of the Marxists.
“Maoists were responsible for the Jnaneswari Express disaster that left 160 people dead. This is now proved,” Banerjee told a party martyrs rally here with the bodies of two Trinamool Congress supporters killed in Maoist attack in Purulia on Monday.
Banerjee said that she was then the Railway minister and had demanded a CBI inquiry, “which prima facie established Maoist involvement in their chargesheet submitted in court.”
Shortly afterwards, however, the chief minister came out with a clarification on TV news channel ‘Star Ananda' saying “Maoists were responsible for the disaster, but who had made them do it? We have our suspicion. We can't state this without evidence.
“Many killings have taken place in the name of Maoists. Maoists have link with the CPI(M). During the CPI(M) regime many people including EFR personnel at Shilda and an officer-in-charge in a police station in West Midnapur district lost their lives at the hands of the Maoists,” Banerjee said.
Asked why she had accused the CPI(M) of being behind the train disaster and was now blaming the Maoists, Banerjee said “We had a certain amount of suspicion. It still remains. “When this comes up in court, this will be stated,” the chief minister said.
Reminded of the accusation by a section of intellectuals supporting her who had blamed the CPI(M) for the train disaster, she said “I have a respect for them. I cannot dismiss their contention.
“It was a joint conspiracy the villagers told me. Both the Jnaneswari and the Sainthia train disasters were engineered before the civic elections in 2010 to hit me politically.”