Against the backdrop of killing of a north Indian youth on a train in a Mumbai suburb, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on Wednesday threatened to suspend train movement in states where rail passengers and properties are repeatedly attacked.
"Railways are becoming soft target in many states these days. If railway properties and passengers continued to be attacked we may think of canceling train operations in those areas," Prasad told reporters here.
The Minister, however, clarified that he did not mean any particular state.
Prasad also spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and expressed serious concern over the incident involving Dharam Dev, the youth hailing from Uttar Pradesh who was beaten to death by fellow commuters.
The Minister also announced compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the next kith and kin of the deceased youth.
"Prime Minister and Soniaji have assured me that they would immediately take up the matter with Maharashtra government," he said.
Seeking tough action against those involved in the train incident, Prasad requested the Prime Minister to ensure "full security" to north Indians in Maharashtra during the Chhat
"I have told the Prime Minister to take stringent action against those behind the incident. I also spoke to Deshmukh for action against the culprits," he said.
Describing it as a "national issue", Prasad said that he requested the PM to call an all-party meeting so that the stand of political parties over the matter becomes clear.
Dubbing the Deshmukh government as a "weak" one, Prasad said, it did not take any action and demanded registration of sedition case against MNS.
Prasad also criticised Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray for allegedly publishing derogatory remarks against him and north Indians.
Dismissing the demand for his resignation made by SP general secretary Amar Singh over the issue, Prasad said: "This is rubbish. Resignation is not a solution. We have faith in Prime Minister. The PM has earlier also taken action and I am sure this time also he would do the needful."
Making light of Singh's comment, Prasad remarked, "Amar Singh and SP are part and parcel of the UPA."
Taking a dig at BJP prime ministerial candidate LK Advani for maintaining silence on the issue, he said "Advani has not condemned the incident yet. Shiv Sena is part of the NDA and he has his ambition to become Prime Minister in which Sena is lending a helping hand."
Charging the Government Railway Police (GRP) of Maharashtra government for not taking prompt action after the youth was beaten up, Prasad said, they (GRP) were "not even registering a police case against the culprits".
"They have showed negligence. We are seeking suspension of erring GRP men. We have spoken to Maharashtra DGP and he admitted the lapse on the part of the police," Prasad said.
He also demanded registration of a case of murder against Maharashtra policemen for the earlier shoot-out in a bus in which Rahul Raj, a youth from Patna was shot dead.
"A case under Section 302 should be registered against the policemen involved in the shootout," he said.