Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday blamed a deadly train crash that killed 148 people last November on Pakistan as he campaigned for a key state election.
Modi claimed police had found evidence of sabotage in the disaster last November, when a crowded passenger train derailed in northern Uttar Pradesh (UP) state, linking it to Pakistan.
Police have not corroborated that claim, made at a rally ahead of the latest stage of voting for a new government in UP - India’s most populous state and a hotly contested political prize.
“A rail accident happened in Kanpur and some people were arrested after that,” Modi said at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district.
“The police found that it was a conspiracy hatched across the border,” he added, in an apparent reference to Pakistan.
“If people who will help the conspirators are elected from here, will Gonda be safe, will the nation be safe?”
The state, with a voting population equal to that of Brazil, is key to Modi’s own political future as well as his party’s as India inches towards the next general election in 2019.
Three suspects arrested over a failed bid to blow up a rail track in Bihar state in December confessed to working for an agent who had also ordered them to target the train in Kanpur. Police later said they found no evidence to back the suspects’ claims.