On October 1, the security agencies went into a tizzy when a 22-yearold man not just managed to sneak a country-made gun into a Metro train, but also shot at himself at the crowded Rajiv Chowk station.
The security breach came at a time when the agencies were on high alert over the threat of an Islamic State terror strike in the city.
Shibesh Adhikari from UP’s Fatehpur was arrested after treatment. What he said during interrogation has caused concerns over the alertness of the Central Industrial Security Force, which is responsible for security at Metro trains and staions.
“Adhikari claimed that he wanted to highlight the laxity of security staff which he observed during his travels in the Metro. He claimed that a few days back, he had heard two men in Aligarh planning an attack in Delhi Metro. As his phone calls to police in order to alert them did not work, he decided to expose the security apparatus himself, he claimed,” a senior Delhi Metro police officer said.
Last week’s incident was not the only firing incident on the premises of Delhi Metro stations. In March 2013, a 29-year old woman lost her life and her father was critically injured after her husband went on a shooting spree at the Karkardooma Metro station. After that incident and several other instances where commuters were caught with firearms, security agencies decided to strengthen the security apparatus by installing more CCTV cameras and deploying personnel at the entrance of Metro stations.
“Even after two years, not much has changed. The areas between entry points of stations and automatic fare collection (AFC) gates are still left unmanned. The frisking of commuters starts only after they reach the AFC gates, much inside the buildings. Ideally, the first security check of commuters and their belongings should happen at the entrance,” the officer said.
Crimes in trains are also soaring at an unprecedented rate. Delhi Metro police statistics show that 2,562 cases had been registered at the eight existing Metro police stations in Delhi till October 5 this year. In 2010, only 209 cases were reported while in 2013, this number rose to 980 and in 2014 it went up to 2,322.
Thefts of mobile phones, wallets and other valuables in trains are reported frequently. Statistics show that 2,477 thefts were reported in Metro till October 5. It means that at least 10 thefts are taking place in the Metro every day.
While crime cases are rising, the workout rate for cases has gone down drastically in the last five-six years. This year, only 116 cases have been solved, which is 3.4% of the total cases reported. In 2010, the workout rate was about 47%.
Officials attribute this rise in crime to increase in ridership and the free-FIR registration policy. When asked about the declining detection rate, the officers cite staff crunch as a reason.
Mukesh Kumar Meena, joint commissioner of police (New Delhi/Delhi Metro Police), said the existing manpower at eight police stations and a sub-division is around 250, out of which only 50 are trained for conducting investigations. On any given day, each investigating officer is handling more than 200 cases, besides handling security and law and order duties.
“The availability of only eight police stations for 129 Metro stations, which will increase to 202 by the end of the Metro network’s phase III extension by 2016, is not enough. A proposal for creating six more police stations and recruiting around 2,300 police personnel has already been sent to Union Home Ministry,” said Meena.