Passengers on-board Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express were taken aback when angry candidates of an Army recruitment rally pelted the train with stones when it arrived at Gwalior station on Wednesday morning.
Over two dozen windowpanes of the train were smashed but nobody was injured. The outer glass panes were damaged and the inner panes developed cracks.
Passengers, who talked to HT on their arrival at Habibganj railway station in Bhopal, said thousands of youngsters gheroed the train and tried to get in. "We were scared as we were not aware why they were so angry and what they wanted to do. I tried to talk to some of them but they didn't listen," said Lata Gupta, who had boarded the train in Gwalior.
Angoori Devi, an elderly passenger, said the youngsters attacked the train with stones and tried to get in. "They also beat up some staff members who tried to stop them from hopping on the train," she said.
Another passenger Vishal Gupta said when the incident occurred, most passengers took cover in the mid-passage of the compartments and covered their children. "We were not sure whether the heavy glass panes would stop the stones from coming inside. But, mostly the outer windowpanes were smashed while some of the inner ones developed cracks," he said.
Some staff members on the train alleged that they were roughed up by the agitated candidates. "As I was trying to stop them from entering, they beat me up and hurt my arm," said Mohammad Nayeem, who works in the sanitary section for train.
Basic repair work was carried out at Habibganj railway station when the train arrived in Bhopal around 2:30pm. As soon as the train arrived at the platform, railway staff removed the glass pieces from the windowpanes and put plastic tapes on the panes that had developed cracks. They also swept platform number 1 to remove the scattered glass.
Senior railway section engineer at Habibganj, Vikas Shukla, told HT that the staff was already waiting at the station for carrying out the basic repair work. "We carried out the repair work in record time so that the train departure was not delayed and passengers didn't have to face any inconvenience," he added.