In an unprecedented probe in a train clash, railway police interrogated about 2,500 persons from across 350 villages and examined CCTV footage on railway stations across four states, resulting in the arrest of nine people.
The clash on March 20 in the Kochuveli-Dehradun Express claimed one life and left five people injured. Police handled the case carefully as it threatened to created communal tensions.
Eight persons were arrested from Lank village of Shamli district and one from Menmana Tikri village of Baghpat district following the huge investigation. Some of the suspects are still missing and police are conducting raids to nab them.
Addressing media persons SP, Railways, Moradabad, Vaibhav Krishna said a 22-member team, led by Ghaziabad circle officer O P Tripathi and SHO-GRP, Meerut city, Ashok Kumar Verma, cracked the case.
Krishna claimed the team first identified 350 villages in the region from where traders frequently go to Kerala. Consequently, they interrogated over 2,500 persons and also examined CCTV footage from different stations in Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi and Western Uttar Pradesh.
The team finally zeroed in on 15 suspects from villages in Shamli and Baghpat and asked the injured passengers to identify them.
“It was indeed a Herculean task to identify and nail the miscreants involved in the crime,” said Krishna, who declared a cash reward of Rs 5,000 for the team. ADG (railways) G L Meena also announced a cash reward of Rs 20,000.
Following the fatal train clash, communal tension gripped Meerut and Muzaffarnagar districts but police managed to keep the situation under control.
Congress leader Imran Masood and his supporters also visited the injured victims in a Meerut hospital and wanted to take them to Saharanpur but the police didn’t give them permission.
According to reports, two Sikh passengers – Harpreet Singh and Jaswinder Singh – who boarded the train separately from Panwel and Basai railway stations, got into an altercation with a group of passengers when they tried to claim their seats. The group was joined by more supporters from Shamli, Baghpat and Meerut as the train moved ahead.
At Meerut city station, the clash broke out and the accused persons pushed Jasvinder out of the moving train. Later, one Nadeem of Saharanpur was also beaten up for intervening in the argument. While Jasvinder survived, Nadeem died on the spot. Five others were injured in the attack and taken to the medical college hospital in Meerut.