Bihar's train safety comes under scrutiny

  • IANS, Patna
  • |
  • Updated: Jun 19, 2007 17:22 IST

The safety of trains in Bihar came under scrutiny once again on Tuesday, a day after armed robbers looted cash and valuables worth over Rs.500,000 from a Dehradun-Howrah train.

At least six train robberies have been reported in the state in the last 40 days.

On Monday, the armed robbery took place in a second-class sleeper coach of the Upasna Express near Barh railway station near Patna.

"The robbers looted cash, ornaments and other valuables from passengers at gunpoint and warned of dire consequences if they resisted," a railway police official said.

Despite repeated claims by the state government of providing police escorts in trains passing through Bihar, the Upasna Express did not have a single police official.

Railway Superintendent of Police Ajitabh Kumar said one of the robbers was arrested while fleeing from Barh station. Arms and ammunition, gold bangles, chains and watches were recovered from him.

Police have identified the gang and are conducting raids on the basis of information provided by the detained robber, he said.

Criminal gangs have targeted trains between the Buxar-Danapur and Danapur-Mokama rail line. Several robberies have taken place in the past month alone. While the Patna-Jhajha passenger train was looted on May 26, robbers struck the Mathura express on May 18. Similarly, passengers of the Himgiri express were robbed on May 9 while a train was looted in the first week of June near Patna.

Apart from robberies, there have been numerous reports of women being harassed while travelling in trains.

The series of train robberies have sent railway officials in a tizzy on ways to improve safety in trains. But rail authorities and the Bihar government have been engaged in a blame game over ensuring train safety.

Last month, a railway official had blamed the state's poor law and order situation for the looting in trains. The state government, however, responded by saying that it was the responsibility of railway authorities to ensure the safety of rail passengers.

 

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