Kerala: Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express catches fire 2nd time since April

Jun 01, 2023 04:56 PM IST

Officials said the fire started on one of the coaches of the train when it halted near a Bharat Petroleum fuel depot

A fire broke out on the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express at Kerala’s Kannur railway station in the early hours of Thursday, the second such incident on the train since April.

Police inspect the train. (PTI)
Police inspect the train. (PTI)

Three people were earlier killed on the train when Shahrukh Saifi, 27, a resident of Delhi, allegedly set some passengers on fire by sprinkling an inflammable liquid on them on April 2. Saifi was arrested from Ratnagiri in Maharashtra for the arson attack.

Officials said the fire on Thursday started on one of the coaches of the train when it halted at the railway station near a Bharat Petroleum fuel depot. Railway authorities and the fire brigade swung into action and brought the fire under control. The coach was completely gutted even though no one was injured.

An official said they were informed about the incident around 1.30am and that when they reached the site, one of the coaches was completely engulfed in flames. Visuals on TV channels showed huge flames coming out from the windows of the coach with thick plumes of smoke rising into the air.

Four fire tenders were deployed for the firefighting operations and the flames were extinguished by around 3.15am.

The officials did not rule out the possibility of foul play and said a forensic team was expected to visit the site.

The opposition Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slammed the Left government for the incident.

Congress leader V D Satheesan said that such incidents have created insecurity in the minds of the people. He added the state government needs to intervene and take steps to strengthen the safety and security measures.

Satheesan blamed the police for its alleged lack of seriousness in dealing with such cases. He added it was apparent from how the April 2 arson incident was handled.

Satheesan said if the alleged carelessness on the part of the police continued, then things would reach a dangerous situation. He demanded a serious probe into the reasons behind the recurrence of such incidents.

BJP’s Kerala chief K Surendran claimed there is peace in the state due to efforts of the Union government and its agencies. He said otherwise the state would have been burnt by extremist and terror groups. “Kerala [government] has sacrificed national security for vote bank.”

P K Krishnadas, a BJP national executive member and Indian Railways’ Passenger Amenities Committee chairman, said such incidents have created fear and anxiety in the public, especially those travelling by train. He questioned why was it happening “again and again” in Kerala.

(With agency inputs)

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