(18 January) Railway chief has insisted that it is too early to determine whether the bomb attack on the southern rail rote earlier this morning is related to the ongoing political crisis.
The explosion occurred 500 metres away from Cha Am station in Petchburi province. It is reported that a Bangkok-Trang train had just passed the spot only 8 minutes before the incident took place.
The bomb, which is believed to be a C4 high-compression bomb, broke apart the rail track and created a 50×150 cm wide hole underneath the rail track.
According to inspectors, the bomb should weigh no more than 1 pound, which indicated that the perpetrators might not intend to cause any fatality. It is also reported that they had found in the wooded area near the rail track an empty snack package with carbon soot, and a tiny piece of electronic equipment.
Petchaburi Governor, Mr. Monthien Thongnit stated that the main motive for the attack might be related to the current political situation.
The railway is the main transportation which carries supporters of anti-government movement from the south to the protesting ground in Bangkok, and the perpetrators might have chosen to attack the rail track to convey their threat against the protesters, Mr. Monthien said.
The attack also came just a day after a deadly grenade attack on demonstrators led by People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD), which killed one protester and wounded 36 others.
7 rail services were forced to delay during the maintenance before the service resumed at 10.00 am on the same day.
However, Mr. Prapat Jongsa-nguan, Governor of the State Railway of Thailand, told reporters that it is too early to make a connection between the attack and the ongoing political protests.
He also asserted that the bomb attack was merely a symbolic threat. "The culprits must have been aware that no one was on the track, and that no one could have been harmed by the bomb," Mr. Prapat suggested.
All passengers should feel confident about the service regardless of their political preferences, so the SRT will not take any political side, Mr. Prapat added.
“SRT is independent of politics. Everybody has the right to their own political expression. Moreover, SRT′s main task is to facilitate the safety of people’s train journeys, not to join any political activity”, said SRT governor, who also said that the SRT Labour Union has not taken any action concerning the current political crisis so far.
Nevertheless, the SRT has informed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Transport Minister, Mr. Chatchar Sitthipan about the incident.
Asked how will SRT ensure the safety of southern line’s passengers, Mr. Prapat admitted that he is still concerned about the situation, but said that he had instructed SRT officials to maintain safety of the stations and railway route, which have also been collaboratively protected by the military and the police.
“There are no main obstruction at for the southern route, however, there might be some delays due to the repairmen of the train track”, said SRT governor, “We have recently hired contractors to repair some tracks to ensure safety and confidence of the people".
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