NEW DELHI, Aug. 20 -- A day after 37 people were killed after being hit by a speeding train while crossing the tracks at a remote station in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, the central government Tuesday blamed the state government for the tragedy.
"The Bihar government is responsible for the tragedy and it also failed to control an angry mob which went on a rampage following the mishap, and set afire at least three trains and vandalized the Dhamara station," Indian Minister of State for Railways Adhir Chowdhury told the media in the national capital.
The mishap happened when the victims, mainly Hindu pilgrims on their way to a local fair, were crossing railway tracks at the remote Dhamara station, some 200 kms from state capital Patna.
The superfast Rajyarani Express mowed them down, killing at least 37 people on the spot and injuring 40 others who have been admitted to a nearby hospital. Some of the injured were in serious condition, according to a senior police official.
Indian Railways officials have said that the speeding train did not slow down at the station as it was not a scheduled stop.
Moreover, the train, which plies between Saharsa and Patna, was on track No. 3 which was a non-stop track, they said, adding that the driver of the train has been nearly lynched by an angry mob and admitted to a hospital.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bihar's Chief Minister Nitish Kumar have appealed for calm.
"It is the rarest of rare incidents," the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister has also announced a compensation of two lakh rupees (4,000 U.S. dollars) each for the families of those killed in the incident.
The state-owned Indian Railways operates 9,000 passenger trains, carrying 18 million people daily.
In India, many people are run over every year by trains because of unmanned crossings. More than 1,200 people were reportedly killed in rail mishaps in India in the past five years.