Getting friendly with “sweet talking girls” on a train journey may prove a tad risky. An advisory issued by the east central railways (ECR) clearly instructs passengers, especially men to be careful of being befriended by "well-dressed, suave-looking and English-speaking women and children on trains", unless you don’t mind being robbed of your valuables.
“That sweet talking woman or child could very well be an active member of one of the many drugging gangs active on long-distance trains,” says the latest ECR alert.
The new ECR “dos and don’ts” also ask passengers not to travel with huge amounts of cash and ornaments or travel in groups, lest they want to be duped by drugging gangs operating through harmless looking women and children.
“Members of various gangs have been using names of villages falling along a train route to start a conversation with passengers, befriend them, offer drug-laced eatables and rob them of their belongings,” said an official.
Other ECR officials said many youths travelling by trains during the festival season are easily lured into trap by young and suave-looking women wearing western clothes.
The advisory also asks passengers to inform the railways authorities immediately if anyone, on the pretext of performing a religious ritual, tries to light sleep-inducing incense sticks on trains.
“Don’t exchange handkerchiefs and do not discuss the purpose of visiting home either for solemnising marriages of daughters or any big plans to be executed at home,” adds the ECR alert.
It says the gang members first offer normal biscuits and then drug-laced ones to their potential victims.
“The most-preferred targets are better-heeled families or individuals travelling in general and sleeper coaches of long-distance trains coming from Panjab, Haryana, Delhi, Mumbai and Gujarat,” said an ECR official.
The ECR has also issued the telephone numbers of railway offices to report drugging incidents.