Nightmare on Rajdhani Express

Two coaches of Bangalore-bound train looted near Jhansi

 


Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s assurance of security on train was belied on Saturday.

A gang of robbers struck the Bangalore-bound Rajdhani Express in the wee hours of Saturday between Jhansi and Itarsi in Madhya Pradesh, looting passengers of cash and jewellery worth Rs 20 lakh.

The passengers, who were at the receiving end of the gang’s tactics, were also shocked by the indifference of the railway police when they complained.

Some passengers said the incident occurred between 2 am and 5 am and they discovered their loss only when they woke up on Saturday morning.

The train left Delhi on Friday at 9 pm and reached Jhansi junction at 1.30 am on Saturday.

The robbers struck in coaches A1 and A2, picking up whatever they could in the dark. Several of them lost their jewellery, cash, laptop computers, mobile phones and other valuables.

Some passengers complained about the robbery to the Government Railway Police (GRP) in Nagpur at 10.15 am.

Finding the GRP personnel unmoved, the agitated passengers held up the train for about 20 minutes at the Kazipet junction.

A passenger who identified himself as Manish Godbole said he lost belongings worth Rs 5 lakh, but the railway police authorities dismissed passengers’ complaints as “routine”, saying that robberies were “common” on the Rajdhani Express.

Anjuman Singh, who lost jewellery worth Rs 6 lakh, said more than the loss, what “hurt” her more was the indifference of the railway authorities and the police.

P K Das, a defence personnel from Bangalore said: “The total loss could be as high as Rs 20 lakh”. He said that he lost valuables worth Rs 5,000 but none of the passengers on the two coaches realised when and how the theft happened. The TT was asleep next to him, added Das.

Another passenger, K C Sharma, an IAF personnel stationed here was upset with the Bangalore police. “I went to them at 7:45 am on Sunday after the train reached and they asked me to come back later. And when I went back they refused to lodge an FIR, saying it was outside their jurisdiction.” Sharma lost nearly Rs 12,000.

D V Singh another passsenger bound for Bangalore suspected the involvement of the railway staff. Singh said, “It might have been anyone but it could have been the railway staff or the catering staff. I lost only my mobile phone but there were others who lost valuables worth lakhs.”

The passengers also told Deccan Herald that there was not a single Railway Protection Force personnel could be seen on the entire train. Earlier, the police at Kazipet responded to the complaint and checked the train but passengers dismissed it as “locking the stables after the horses bolted”. They demanded the presence of armed policemen on “vulnerable” trains.

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