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Shahabuddin’s co-passengers face torrid time in transit

Adding to the sufferings of train passengers, who were asked to vacate their confirmed seats and move to other bogeys, were dozens of the former MP’s supporters, who also boarded the train in different compartments sans valid tickets.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2017 09:32 IST
Subhash Pathak and Avinash Kumar
Subhash Pathak and Avinash Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Shahabuddin,Siwan MP,Sampoorn Kranti
Security personnel on the route for former Siwan MP Md Shahabuddin's transfer to the Delhi-bound train, in Patna. (Santosh Kumar/HT photo)

Co-passengers of former Siwan MP and gangster Mohammad Shahabuddin travelling in Sampoorn Kranti Express on Saturday had a torrid time.

Minutes after the train left Patna Junction, all passengers who had their berths allotted in S-2 bogey were asked to vacate it and wait for allotment of their seats in other jam-packed compartments.

As per the Supreme Court order to treat Shahabuddin as an ordinary criminal, police had booked a seat for him along with scores of other security personnel in the sleeper compartment. After a brief stopover at Beur Central Jail in Patna from Siwan, police took him to Rajendra Nagar station and boarded the train.

“We have been standing in S-3 for the past one hour since the train left Patna Junction, but none from the railways has come to take care of us,” said Md Sarfaraz, who was allotted berth number 64 in the S-2 compartment.

Rupesh Kumar of Kumhrar, who also had a confirmed berth in the same compartment, alleged that police personnel virtually manhandled and shoved him into S-1 bogey after he pleaded with the ticket examiner to settle the issue.

READ: Tihar-bound Shahabuddin taken to Delhi by sleeper class

Adding to the sufferings of passengers were dozens of the former MP’s supporters, who also boarded the train in different compartments sans valid tickets. “Police had kept us in dark about Shahabuddin Saheb’s visit. We got to know about his Delhi journey when they took him to Rajendra Nagar. We took the train without ticket and are ready to pay the fine,” said Zahid, claiming to be a supporter of Shahabuddin.

“We are facing a lot of problems due to unauthorised travellers in the bogey,” said Satyam Ravi, who was travelling in S-3 coach, saying it had become very difficult to go to the washroom, as a lot of people were crowding the passage. “Besides, the internal connection of S-2 coach with other bogeys has also been closed by the police in the name of safety,” said Md Usman, who was allotted berth number 46 in the same compartment.

Repeated attempts by HT for the comments of railway officials went in vain. While senior officials of the east central railway zone refused to say anything, the divisional railway manager (DRM), Danapur and other senior officers of the division did not respond to phone calls.

A high-profile prisoner, Shahabuddin has faced the maximum number of transfers from one jail to another after being arrested about a decade ago. In the last 18 months, he was shifted out of Siwan three times.

“The way Shahabuddin was taken in a prison van and later in sleeper compartment was not only in compliance with the SC order, but also aimed at giving a message to other high-profile criminals about their status in the eye of law,” said a home department official.

Shahabu, as he was called by his supporters, had in the past, lived in style in an air-conditioned cell equipped with a TV and refrigerator, and ordered expensive meals through his mobile phone. He was often shifted to comfortable hospitals for routine checkups. Even now, when he was lodged in Siwan jail after his bail was cancelled by the SC, he enjoyed the privilege of meeting guests and associates regularly in the superintendent’s office. No records of these meetings were kept.

Shahabuddin is facing trial in 45 cases. The top court had sent him back to jail on September 30, 2016, by reversing a September 7, 2016, Patna high court order granting him bail.

First Published: Feb 19, 2017 09:11 IST