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Bomb Explodes on India Rail Line

August 9, 1999

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ A bomb exploded on a rail line in India’s insurgency-wracked northeast early Monday, derailing the engine and six coaches of a freight train, a local news report said.

The two-member engine crew and several soldiers on the train were injured, Press Trust of India news agency said.

The blast occurred minutes before an express train from New Delhi was due to pass in the western district of Bongaigaon in Assam state, 890 miles east of New Delhi, PTI said.

Authorities said the attack was one more in a string of guerrilla attacks ahead of India’s Aug. 15 celebration of the 52nd anniversary of its independence.

No one claimed responsibility for the bomb attack.

On Sunday, police blamed Bodo tribespeople for blowing up a railway line and a bridge over the weekend in Assam state. The attack Saturday missed an express train carrying nearly 1,000 passengers.

Bodos were blamed for another explosion on Sunday that badly damaged a bridge on the national highway.

The Bodos, demanding greater autonomy in lands traditionally held by their tribe, frequently attack government property. They control a narrow land corridor connecting the northeast with the rest of India.

Last week, in one of India’s worst railroad accidents, a head-on collision between two express trains in neighboring West Bengal state killed at least 289 people. Railroad officials are investigating how signal operators sent the two trains toward each other on the same track.

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