Rly bosses' plan for safety of passengers goes awry
Bishwadeep Ghosh/ Lucknow,
June 16 The decision of the railway bosses of having its own band of men in khaki to take care of train commuters has gone awry. The railways' own Railway Protection Force (RPF) jawans and lower rung officers entrusted with safety of passengers have in fact bared their fangs at them.
A fitting case of saviours-turned-predators, the RPF men indulged in incidents of wanton loot and unprovoked aggression. In the past four months, RPF men were involved in a dozen cases of heinous crime which were registered with various Government Railway Police (GRP) stations of UP.
What is more, due to the inept handling of the situation at Dadri station in Ghaziabad, RPF personnel opened fire on a mob on June 10. The incident left three persons including a 14-year-old water vendor Om Prakash dead and caused enough consternation to the district administration. A case of murder was registered against RPF personnel on duty at the GRP station in Dadri.
With RPF men jumping their guns, the spat between GRP and RPF has become murkier. The murmurs of dissent among the GRP targeting the RPF have become louder. The GRP bosses are yet to overcome the slight inflicted by the Centre following its decision to split the job of protection, crime control and patrolling in railway property and trains between the two units. The recent (mis)deeds of the RPF have only rekindled the GRP's tirade.
As per a dossier prepared by the GRP on May 22 an RPF sub-inspector Shyam Sunder Dwivedi aided by two constables Banwari Lal and Rampal Giri beat up Jitendra Mishra of Allahabad inside the Mahabodhi Express in Kanour and robbed him of Rs 2.67 lakh.
The same day, two RPF escort constables from Moradabad were charged with taking Rs 100 each from ticketless passengers of the Sadhbhavna Express in Charbagh, Lucknow. Those who objected were pushed out of the train. In Jhansi, constable LP Sahu along with an aide deprived onr Rajesh Kumar of Agra of Rs 7,500 on the Gondwana Express near the Karari railway station on May 22.
Recently, on May 31 Amit Kumar of Shahdara, Delhi, was brutally assaulted and illegally detained by constable Vinod Kumar of Sahibabad police outpost for refusing to cough up some cash at the station.
Earlier, Veerpal Singh of Noida, a passenger of the Swarna Jayanti Express, was seriously injured when a carbine with constable Syed Ali Abbas of Allahabad post went off on February 11 at Allahabad. On March 6, constables Lal Sahib and Vijay Kumar of Lucknow robbed Rs 2,400 from one Kamlesh Verma who was travelling by the Nainital Express near Sitapur.
Even Youth Congress secretary Vinay Pandey of Mughalsarai was not spared. Constables Subhash Singh, Ramchandra Yadav and DP Singh robbed him of Rs 2,000 at PF Lines on April 18. Similarly, on March 3, constables Munnalal and Mahendra Singh snatched Rs 100 from one Abdul Hakeem inside the Raxaul Express near Hardoi.
When asked about these incidents involving RPF personnel, ADG (Railways) VK Bhalla commented, "What RPF meeds is better understanding of a crisis and its handling. They have hardly been trained on the lines of a professional police force and hence are ill-exposed to such situations."