The recent Maoist attack on a Patna-bound train near Jamui in Bihar has brought back focus on the need to bring policing under a unified command, thus opening up the GRP versus RPF debate.
Rail policing is essentially the responsibility of the GRP, although the RPF was lately been given powers to register FIRs in respect of petty cases such as thefts, etc. Moving trains are escorted by both the GRP and the RPF personnel.
“The Jamui incident is clearly an intelligence failure and such things are happening because of the duality of functions and powers”, a senior RPF official said. The central government had set up the Subsidiary Multi Agency Centre (SMAC) as a platform for coordination and intelligence sharing amongst different agencies at monthly meetings.
A limited purpose may have been solved by such initiatives, but unless one agency is provided both the power and accountability to prevent rail crimes, the situation will remain in a flux”, said US Jha of the RPF association.
Meanwhile, Railways Minister Dr. CP Joshi announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the three persons killed in the Jamui attack (two passengers and one RPSF constable); R One lakh to one grievously injured passenger and Rs 25,000 each to the three persons with minor injuries, an official release said.
ACHR raps train attack in Bihar
Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) on Thursday termed the attack as an act of terrorism. “The attack on the civilian passenger train is an act of terrorism under the Geneva Conventions.” Director Suhas Chakma said in a statement.