Tragic train fire in Bangladesh leaves 4 dead

Four people were killed as the passenger train was set on fire in Bangladesh.

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Jan 6: In a devastating incident on Friday evening in Dhaka, at least four individuals, including two children, lost their lives, and many sustained injuries when suspected arsonists set fire to a passenger train traveling from the port city of Benapole, which borders India. The tragedy unfolded just a day before Bangladesh’s general elections, marked by the boycott of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

The attack occurred around 9 pm as the Benapole Express, comprising four carriages, approached its destination, the Kamalapur Railway Station in the capital. Shahjahan Shikdar, the spokesperson for the Fire Service and Civil Defence, confirmed the death toll, stating, “So far we have found four bodies… searches are still underway.”

Most of the nearly 292 passengers on the train were returning from India when the incident occurred near the Gopibagh area. Fire service chief Brigadier General Mohammad Main Uddin disclosed that two of the deceased were children. Witnesses recounted harrowing scenes, with one individual sacrificing his life to save his family from the engulfing flames.

Reports suggested the presence of some Indian nationals among the passengers. Although the exact number of casualties and injuries remained unconfirmed by railway officials, residents played a crucial role in rescuing and transporting several injured individuals to medical facilities, including the burn unit at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

As Bangladesh prepares for the upcoming elections on Sunday, the tragic incident adds a sad note to the already contentious political atmosphere. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by former Prime Minister Khalida Zia, has boycotted the elections, demanding an interim non-party neutral government, a demand rejected by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Awami League.

Foreign observers, including three from India, have arrived in Dhaka to monitor the general election, amidst concerns raised by recent train-related incidents. Sabotage incidents involving trains occurred in December, claiming lives and causing injuries, leading to accusations between the Awami League and the BNP.

The incident on Friday underscores the critical need for heightened security measures as the nation approaches a pivotal electoral moment, with the international community closely monitoring the developments.

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