At least 15 people were killed and more than a dozen were sickened Saturday after inhaling toxic gas while trying to steal fuel from a freight train in eastern India's Assam state, news reports said.
The incident took place near Diphu railway station in the Karbi Anglong district, about 290 kilometres east of Assam's main city of Guwahati, the IANS news agency reported.
The freight train carrying high-speed diesel and petrol was stopped by a group of people in a isolated jungle area, railway official SS Narayanan was quoted as sayingç reported dpa.
When the men opened a wagon lid to pilfer the fuel, they were engulfed by thick, noxious fumes and spewing oil, officials and witnesses said.
Local villager K Timung was quoted as saying that at least 15 bodies were scattered in a radius of about 100 metres of the train and at least 20 other people were either unconscious or suffering from nausea and giddiness.
Most of the victims were from Nagaland state, which borders Karbi Anglong, police said. Two Naga rebels of the secessionist National Socialist Council of Nagaland were among the dead, Karbi Anglong police chief NN Goswami told IANS.