The Railway authorities are facing flak over the rising attacks and theft of passengers on board the trains in Kerala along with the anxieties over their safety and security.
A family of three travelling in the disabled compartment of the New Delhi bound Kerala Express was attacked on Saturday by two youths who robbed them of their valuables after the train left the Ettumanoor station. The duo in their early twenties was caught within hours of the incident by the police and the people who saw them escaping. The Soumya rape and murder case four years ago was also due to the negligence of the railway authorities. The railway facilities don’t guarantee adequate safety and security. The reality that theft, abuse and murder has become much more effortless nowadays just as it has become commonplace is shocking. The disabled and the women are provided with separate coaches for their safety and convenience. But the culprits target such coaches that are more convenient for them to carry out the attacks due to the lack of safety provided. It’s the same lapse on the part of authorities in providing the required security measures that led to the attack and robbery of Mohammed Nizar and his family on board the train. Both the railway authorities and the government are answerable for the incident. While the efficacy of the railway security force is being questioned, the authorities blame it on the shortage of manpower.
Criminal gangs that are trained in carrying out theft and robbery are reportedly, targeting trains in Kerala and this increases the anxiety of the people. Yet another terrifying fact is the obscurity over the authorities responsible for the safety of train passengers. There is no unity and cooperation between the Railway police and the Railway Protection Force that comes under the state government. There is a shortage of man power as well as lesser number of female staff. A monthly meet to review the security measures and the temporary steps to be taken during the time of such incidents are all that is taking place at present. There are no policies for providing compensation for the victims or penalizing the railway officials who are found responsible. Suggestions for installing CCTV cameras are also welcome. But for curbing the crimes, a security force including women should be formed. In Madhya Pradesh, two trains derailed at the same spot, the incidents spaced over a gap of few minutes with the coaches swept away in the flash flood. The base material of the tracks got washed away in heavy rain and the authorities had failed to notice it and take proper precautions. There are numerous reports of women getting abused inside the train. The passengers who board the train paying a fare entrust their lives with the railway authorities. The negligence of the authorities in providing the proper safety facilities to the passengers encourages the criminals to carry out heinous acts that pose threat to their lives and property. Safety is the most fundamental right of the passengers and therefore the government should take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of those travelling on board.