Chinese Wireless Router Hacks Indian Railway’s IRCTC Website

A pack of hackers have spread their wings across the entire country, bringing down many important websites for gaining publicity or making a quick buck. Only recently the website to have been attacked by them is none other than that of the Indian Railways.

Railways Protection Force (RPF) holds that the main hacker is extremely clever, who has sound technological knowledge, otherwise it was extremely difficult to hack a site with such a full-proof security plan as that IRCTC has put in  place.  The investigation being conducted has led RPF to arrest a ticket broker from Durg, who was in possession of some Chinese hacking equipment.

During interrogation, the hacker cum ticket broker admitted how easily he could book tickets within just 10 minutes of the booking website opening up. He also revealed that they used to load all the data into a specific software, with the help of which they could get confirmed tickets by making use of Fake IDs.

The RPF investigation says that the hackers used to create Fake IDs on private ticket booking platforms registered with IRCTC. With the help of this, they used to hack the IRCTC website for few minutes daily and book confirmed tickets. Not just to book tickets to and from Raipur, but the hackers would break into the entire data of confirmed tickets for all of Eastern Railways.

Despite the failure of IRCTC to secure their ticket booking portal, higher Railway officials are  unwilling to take responsibility about the frequent breaches made into the so called ‘full proof’ software. This is not the first time that the site has been hacked but the officials are in denial mode. It was only after the secret investigation department of RPF came out with a reports about the vulnerability of the website to hacking that the matter has come out in the public.

RPF has directed the railway officials of Bhilai and Raipur to further investigate the matter and get the wireless routers checked by experts, however, the officials have still not been able to appoint any specialist to do a security audit. It may be noted that these are not just simple WiFi routers, but they have been helping hackers break in for quiet some time and the China made routers are allegedly helping in exposing the website to web criminals.

Gruesome Godhra Train carnage: Gujarat HC sharply criticise Railways for miserably failing to maintain the Law & Order

GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat High Court’s decision to commute the death sentence into life imprisonment to 11 of the convicts involved in the gruesome Godhra train burning case of February 27, 2002, even as sharply criticising the Gujarat government and the Indian Railways for miserably failing to maintain the law and order, has opened up fresh possibilities of re-examining the event.

While the HC has, at the same time, refused to change the trial court verdict, which acquitted 63 persons, including Maulvi Umarji, accused of being the mastermind behind the fire, there is reason to wonder what led to the incident, which was immediately described by the Gujarat government as a “criminal conspiracy” hatched in Pakistan, without even waiting for the investigators begin doing their job to find out how on that fateful date 58 people, most of them kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya, were burnt alive.

Godhra has roughly an equal population of Muslims and Hindus, with a long and bloody history of communal tension and violence. The Muslims in Singal Falia, situated near the railway station, who allegedly attacked the Sabarmati Express, belong to the Ghanchi community, which is largely uneducated community with poor civil values and religiously always charged. Many of them have been allegedly under the influence of tabliqis of the Deobandi tradition, and have had the history of participating in communal violence.

The court termed it as “preplanned inhuman collective violent act of terrorism”. The fact is, the police, especially the DSP, arrived at the scene of the incident at the site of the incident at 8.30 am, by which time the mob had already dispersed. According to one report, since he heard no cries or any sounds from coach S6, he had no apprehensions of massive civilian casualties in that coach. This was discovered only later when the district collector entered the coach. Reportedly, all the bodies were in a heap in the centre of the coach S6. There is reason to wonder: Why did the Gujarat police not call forensic experts for a physical examination of the burnt railway coach for two long months even though it was freely accessible to the public from day one?

Sardar Vaghela, 77, locally known as Sardar Kaka, insists his son Rajesh is alive. “My son got lost in 2002. He was on the train. I am sure he will be back,” he said Monday.

The train he was referring to is the Sabarmati Express, which was set on fire in February 2002 leading to the death of 59 kar sevaks. On Monday, Gujarat High Court commuted to life the death sentences of 11 of those convicted.

“I have heard about the Gujarat High Court judgment and it has not done justice,” Sardar told. “My neighbours were on the train and they died. Those who killed them should not be forgiven. Giving them a life sentence is not enough.”

“Kaka has lost his mental balance after 2002,” said Dinesh Goswami, a survivor, who was on S6, the coach that was set on fire at Godhra station that day, the event that triggered communal riots in Gujarat. “Kaka goes to temples and mosques looking for his son. He is sharp when it comes to other matters, but when it is about his son he refuses to accept that he is dead,” Goswami said.

“The decision has come keeping the elections in mind. Advantage will be taken of this decision. The judgment is totally wrong and I think it will give out a wrong message to those who committed such a crime,” said Goswami, who had come to visit Sardar to tell his family about the judgment and the compensation announced.

“I was 31 years old when the incident happened,” he added. “I was one of the lucky ones who managed to escape. I could not recognise the charred bodies of my friends. This is what we call, in law, a rarest-of-the-rare case. The train burning made people so angry that the entire state erupted in violence. It was not the VHP or the BJP or the Congress or any political party. It was the anger of people because of what had happened to the kar sevaks.”

Goswami and Sardar live in Khokra area of Ahmedabad.

Gayatri Panchal of Vastral, Ahmedabad, is another survivor; she lost her parents and two sisters. She says she wants to move on rather than reflect on something that happened 16 years ago.

“I was on the train and have given statements several times. I am disappointed with the judgment but don’t want to say anything that may spark controversy. It has been 16 years and I want to move on.”

Gayatri, 32, is currently taking a break from work. She was in class XI when she lost her parents Nita and Harshad, and sisters Pratiksha and Chhaya.

She used to live in Ramol area of Ahmedabad and was later resettled in Vastral by members of the VHP.

“Most of the sevaks were from Ramol area. The VHP resettled many after the riots,” said Bipin Thakkar, 44, a businessman who deals in auto parts and is a VHP member. “I was there, helping families move and ensuring they got compensation. My father-in-law and brother-in-law died on the train and I am very disappointed with the high court judgment. The lower court judgment awarding the death sentence was the right one. I will make sure that we take the matter to the Supreme Court. I will do it individually if necessary.”

He said it had been a last-minute decision that made his father-in-law Mansukh Soni and brother-in-law Jesal Soni join the team visiting Ayodhya.

“It is a loss that no compensation can make up for. My wife does not know about the judgment yet. She will be disappointed,” Bipin said.

The VHP too expressed disappointment with the judgment. “The judgment of the high court is not just,” its Gujarat general secretary Ranchhod Bharvad said at a a press conference at the VHP office. “The murderers of the Ram bhakts cannot get away with only life imprisonment. We will take this matter to the Supreme Court. We want those who committed the crime to get the harshest punishment possible. We also want special packages and compensation from the government for those who died on the train. The Rs 10 lakh compensation is not enough. People have lost their families.”

GRP plans Command Control Centre at Secunderabad Station, submits proposal to State Govt.

SECUNDERABAD: With railway stations always being potential targets for terror groups, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has come up with a proposal to establish a Command Control Centre (CCC) to constantly keep a vigil at the Secunderabad Railway Station.

The GRP has already submitted a proposal to the Telangana State Government and the response is awaited, an official said. Once the GRP gets the nod, the CCC would be set up at the new office of the Railways Superintendent of Police, Secunderabad Division, near the Railway Court in Bhoiguda.

Director-General of Police (Railways and Road Safety) T Krishna Prasad had recently hinted that the GRP had chalked out an action plan to improve the surveillance system at the station. The CCC is part of the plan, he said. At present, 80 closed circuit television cameras cover all the 10 platforms of the Secunderabad station. A request was also made to the South Central Railway (SCR) to instal more cameras on the premises.  “If the CCC is established, we will connect our cameras to it and monitor the entire station premises round the clock,” said an official.

Apart from increasing surveillance at the platforms, a vigil would also be maintained at the foot-over-bridges (FoBs), which have turned into shelter zones for vagabonds. The police could also monitor the movements of those moving suspiciously in the parking areas and near FoBs.

If a police constable is seen inattentive through the CCC, he could be instructed through the wireless communication equipment to be vigilant while on duty. In case of heavy rush at the general compartments of express trains, patrol police teams could be rushed to the platform concerned to ensure proper order, the official added.

Railways In-charge Superintendent of Police (Secunderabad Division) S Rajendra Prasad said, “We are hopeful of getting a positive response from the government soon.” If necessary, the help of the city police, who have already established such a centre, would be taken for effective functioning, he added.

23 killed, 40 injured as 14 Coaches of Utkal Express derail in UP – Terrorists’ Role Suspected

Utkal Express accident: Terrorists’ role suspected as an incident was also reported on the same route wherein miscreants pelted stones at Dehradun-Delhi Shatabdi Express near Khatauli Railway Station 5 hours before derailment of Utkal Express. In addition, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detected at Guwahati Railway Station on August 18, 2017 packed in bag, which was booked by Rail Mail Service. UP ATS rushed to spot. On being asked about the possibility of terrorist’s involvement, the CPRO of Northern Railways Neeraj Sharma said that the accident would be probed from all the angles.

Coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express after it derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Saturday.

MUZAFFARNAGAR: At least 23 passengers were killed and over 40 injured when 14 coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Saturday evening, the Uttar Pradesh police said. The casualty figure might go up.

Earlier, UP Principal secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar had said, “11 dead bodies and 65 injured have been brought to Khatauli hospital,”

The accident took place around 5.45 pm. Khatauli is around 40 km from Muzaffarnagar. Television visuals show that derailed bogies have crashed into a house.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry into the derailment. He said he was personally monitoring the situation and strict action will be taken in case of any lapse.

As many as 14 coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed.

Prabhu later announced ex gratia of Rs 3.5 Lakh for those who lost their lives in the derailment, Rs 50,000 for seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for people with minor injuries.

In a series of tweets, Prabhu also said that Minister of State Manoj Sinha has rushed to the spot while the chairman of Railway Board and member traffic have been asked to oversee rescue and relief operations.

Two National Disaster Response Force teams, comprising 45 personnel each, and two canines have been mobilised to the accident site from their base in Ghaziabad. Medical vans have also been rushed to the site.

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‘All efforts being taken to ensure speedy relief and rescue operations,’ Prabhu said.

Five hours prior to the derailment at Khatauli, an incident was reported wherein some miscreants pelted stones at the Dehradun-Delhi Shatabdi Express near Muzaffarnagar railway station here, damaging some window panes. No one was injured in the incident which occurred after the train crossed the railway station, according to railway protection force. The police have registered a case against unidentified people.

Gathering of people near derailed Utkal Express site in Muzaffarnagar on Saturday.

The Railway Ministry was also in close touch with the Uttar Pradesh government to coordinate rescue and relief operations.

In Lucknow, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said that top priority was being accorded to ensure prompt rescue and relief work.

He said teams of Provincial Armed Constabulary and NDRF have been rushed to the spot.

Since darkness was impeding rescue operations, he said the power department officials had been directed to ensure that there was no shortage of electricity.

Kumar also said IMA chapters in Meerut zone have been alerted and asked to ensure adequate and prompt medical care to the injured.

Kumar said a team of UP Anti-Terrorism Squad was also sent to the spot, though there is no confirmation of the terrorism angle.

Coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express train that derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar

Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena said at this stage, nothing can be said about the cause of the derailment.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath enquired about the accident and directed officials to take all possible action, an official spokesperson said.

Adityanath has directed two of his ministers to reach the site to expedite rescue and relief operations.

Adityanath directed senior ministers Suresh Rana and Satish Mahana to rush to the train accident site.

He also spoke with the Muzaffarnagar district magistrate and instructed him to ensure all possible relief to affected people, an official spokesperson said.

Hospitals have been instructed to provide free treatment to the injured passengers, the spokesperson said.

A coach of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express train after it derailed and crashed into a house in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Saturday.

He said four NDRF teams were also being rushed there — three from Ghaziabad and one from Delhi.

Besides, 35 ambulances, bread, butter, 1,000 food packets, additional private and state-run buses were being arranged, he said.

Volunteers were being mobilized from adjoining Meerut, the spokesperson said.

Medical colleges, district hospitals and large number of private hospitals were being prepared to receive patients, he said.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice President Rahul Gandhi expressed condolences over the loss of lives in the accident.

People resqueing the passengers trapped inside the mangled Coaches of the Utkal Express

‘Sad at train derailment in UP; my thoughts are with deceased and their families. Injured are being rescued and provided relief,’ President Kovind tweeted.

The PM said the railway ministry and the state government were doing everything possible and providing all assistance required.

He said the situation was being monitored very closely by the railways ministry.

‘Extremely pained by the derailment of the Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,’ the prime minister tweeted. ‘I wish those injured a speedy recovery. The situation is being monitored very closely by the Railway Ministry,’ Modi said.

The railways and the UP government are ‘doing everything possible and providing all assistance required in the wake of the train derailment’, the PM added.

Reportedly, the UP Police suspect the role of terrorists behind the derailment of 6 coaches of Utkal Express near Khatauli in UP’s Muzaffarnagar district on Saturday.

The UP Anti-Terror Squad has been rushed to the accident spot to probe the terror angle.

On being asked by the media about the possibility of militant’s involvement, the CPRO of Northern Railways Neeraj Sharma said that the accident would be probed from all the angles.

On being asked by the media about the possibility of militant’s involvement, the CPRO of Northern Railways Neeraj Sharma said that the accident would be probed from all the angles.

Some media reports have also claimed that recently track repairing work was carried out where the Puri Haridwar Kalinga Utkal Express derailed.

The reports claimed that after the repairing work, rail tracks were not properly filled with sand. However, the Northern Railways CPRO denied the reports of repairing work being done on the tracks. The train was coming from Puri and was going to Haridwar. It met with the accident around 6:45 pm.

Member of security forces moves a bag containing improvised explosive device (IDE) from arm of a bomb disposal robot to an explosion-proof tank outside a railway station in Guwahati on August 18, 2017. A potential accident was averted on Friday by local police after an IED packed in bag, which was booked by Rail Mail Service, was detected at the station, said local official.


SMS based Passenger Complaint & Suggestion System (SPCSS) for Indian Railways passengers

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways have introduced a System where one can complain from a running train.  The SMS about complaint will be acknowledged and attended.  Give the Train No., Bogie No., precise nature of complaint like no water in toilets, no lights, fans not working, security problem or whatever through SMS.  The Railway number to which one can SMS is 8121281212.  This will help someone in emergency.


  1. To get complaints/suggestions from customers through SMS for aligning railway resources and priorities to customers’ aspirations and expectations.
  2. To reduce the gap between the customers’ expectations and railway’s performance.
  3. To help railways prioritize focus areas.
  4. To foster greater participation of customers in railway services.


  1. Complaint/suggestion can be registered at 8121281212 by sending an SMS.
  2. In response, an automated acknowledgement with a unique ID will be sent as an SMS.
  3. With the unique ID, passenger can know the status of the complaint by sending SMS:- “STATUS < SPACE > < REFERENCE ID>” to 8121281212 or by logging on our website
  4. Final reply will be sent through an SMS and will also be available on website-

NIA Chargesheet in Rail Accidents points to Pakistan’s ISI role – a plot bigger than expected on cards

The NIA has blamed ISI for roping in a Nepalese citizen to arrange for men to plant pressure cooker bombs on rail tracks to blow up passenger trains.

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed the first chargesheet in cases of alleged conspiracy behind rail accidents before a Patna court. Nine people, including two Nepalese citizens, have been charged with conspiracy to blow up rail tracks and a train near Bihar’s Ghorasahan railway station in October 2016.

The NIA is also investigating railway accidents near Kanpur and Kuneru in Andhra Pradesh last year that killed over 180 people. One of the accused in Bihar conspiracy had also owned up the Kanpur accident. His claim has not been corroborated with evidence yet.

The NIA has blamed ISI for roping in a Nepalese citizen to arrange for men to plant pressure cooker bombs on rail tracks to blow up passenger trains. The chargesheeted accused have been identified as Umashankar Patel, Gajendra Sharma, Rakesh Kumar Yadav, Ranjay Sah, Mukesh Yadav, Motilal Paswan and Arun Ram, Brij Kishore Giri and Samsul Hoda. Hoda, who along with Giri is from Nepal, has been identified as the main accused. He is alleged to have organised men in Bihar with Giri’s help to execute the attacks on ISI agent Mohammed Shafi Sheikh’s instructions.

NIA sources said that Hoda was in the business of providing manpower and had earlier worked in Malaysia. He later shifted to Dubai, where he came in touch with Sheikh. Hoda contacted Giri, who arranged for three Bihar men to allegedly execute the attack.

The chargesheet alleged that Hoda visited Pakistan in July 2016 along with Shafi. “The conspiracy hatched was to carry out IED explosions on railway tracks and bridges, to blow up passenger trains to cause loss to public life, disrupt essential lines of communication and to thereby cause threat to security and integrity of India.’’

The NIA said that six of the chargesheeted accused are in jail. Giri and Hoda are in custody in Nepal for their role in a murder. Ram was murdered in December. It was during the investigations into Ram’s murder that Bihar police stumbled upon the conspiracy and arrested two people, including Motilal Paswan who owned up the Kanpur accident.

Shafi Shaik by that time fled to Pakistan via. UAE and is expected to reside either in Karachi or Islamabad.

The chargesheet alleged that Hoda had transferred money into Giri’s account to allegedly recruit bomb-makers and planters and for arranging logistics. Giri allegedly recruited Sharma, Rakesh Yadav, Patel, Mukesh Yadav, Paswan, Sah and Ram to allegedly carry out terrorist acts.

The NIA alleged that the accused fabricated and planted another IED on a railway track near Adapur and Nakardei railway stations on December 3. An audio clip has been attached to the chargesheet. Giri is purportedly telling Patel in the clip that another group had been successful in its sabotage activity in Kanpur while he has failed to cause an accident despite placing bombs.

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Twin blasts rock Hazaribagh Railway Station on Dhanbad Division

The type of explosive used in the blast it is yet to be diagnosed

DHANBAD: Panic and chaos ensued after two blasts took place late on Sunday night in Hazaribagh railway station of Jharkhand. The station where the blast occurred, falls on the railway line which goes to Kolkata from Delhi via Gaya and Dhanbad. On Sunday night two blasts were heard from the railway station, following which chaos erupted in the nearby areas. A boy lost his right hand in the blast and is being treated in a hospital in Dhanbad.

However, the type of explosive used in the blast it is yet to be diagnosed. According to an eyewitness, the explosive which caused the blast was in a bag which was lying on the station. The police has launched an investigating into the matter.

On 7th December 2016, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the presence of Chief Minister Raghubar Das opened the 57 km long Hazaribagh-Barkakhana section for passenger trains. With the launch of Hazaribagh-Barkakhana section, now the 137 km section of Koderma-Hazaribagh-Ranchi rail project is functional now and passenger trains are plying currently on this stretch, apart from various other long distance trains passing through this section. Once the 66 km long Barkakana-Ranchi section is also completed (which is expected to complete by end of 2017), the route gains more importance and Hazaribagh Town Railway Station will be connected with Ranchi via. Barkakana.

Amid Security concerns in the maoist hit Ramgarh district the project has been provided with 24-hour security. Also a railway coal siding line is under construction from Hazaribagh Town to Bandag.

Signal Cabin Fire hits Central Railway train movements, Sabotage feared

Fire had a cascading effect on Central Railway services through the day, 115 trains affected

MUMBAI: After recent attempts to sabotage Mumbai’s local trains by placing large objects on the tracks, miscreants are now targeting railway property like signal cabins.

Around noon on Sunday, the signal cabin, or Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) system near Parsik Tunnel on the Central Railway (CR) caught fire. This worsened the impact of the mega block in the section on commuters, with over 35 trains being cancelled, and more than 80 trains delayed.

When railway officials inspected the cabin near Parsik Tunnel, it was found that the wires supplying power to the signal panel had caught fire, probably caused by a kerosene-doused cloth found at the spot. Media spoke to Divisional Railway Manager of the CR’s Mumbai Division, Ravinder Goel, about the incident. “It did not appear to be a short circuit.

Someone has deliberately started the fire, and this is not the first time. On April 28, too, someone had tried to break another glass window of the cabin and used an acid-laced cloth attached to an iron rod (to try and start a fire). However, our people were alert, and they managed to avert the fire. Even today, our people were alert and immediately took action to bring the situation under control,” Goel said.

He added that security had been tightened following the incident. “Luckily, the fire was contained in the cabin’s power supply room. If the fire had gutted the signal panel, it would have taken hours for us to restore the signalling system,” a senior railway official said.

A high-level team of railway officials, including Railway Protection Force and signal and telecom department officials, revisited the signal cabin around 8 pm. The team was preparing a joint inspection report at the time of going to press. The area around the signal cabin is surrounded by slum colonies, and the possibility of mischief cannot be ruled out, a senior official said.

The signal cabin fire had a cascading effect on CR services throughout the day. The CR had planned a block on the Up slow line (towards CST), between Kalyan and CST. During the block, they had planned to divert CST-bound slow trains to the fast line. However, due to the signal cabin fire, the signalling system on the fast line collapsed.

According to railway officials, the signalling system was restored using the back-up system around 1.10 pm. However, due to the closure of both the slow and fast lines towards CST, several trains were queued up on the tracks, severely inconveniencing passengers. Stations were overcrowded with holiday commuters at stations through the day.

“We left home nearly four hours ago. But by 2 pm, we have only managed to reach Dadar. Our child has been crying and we still have another 45 minutes of commuting to Kandivali,” said Vishal Chauhan, 32, a Titwala resident who was travelling with his wife and six-month-old baby. Like Chauhan, several commuters who set out on a holiday to meet friends and relatives were caught in the ensuing chaos that continued till the evening

Rajya Rani Express derailment: Railways hints at Sabotage

RAMPUR, MORADABAD DIVISION: Hinting at sabotage behind the Rajya Rani Express derailment, the Railways today said defects in the track could be due to “extraneous factors” as they could not develop suddenly.

A three-foot portion of the railway track was found missing, the police had said earlier.

“The track was tested on February 27 using ultrasonic flaw detectors (USFD) and no defect was found. So, the possibility of involvement of extraneous factors in causing damage to the track cannot be ruled out,” said a source in the railway ministry.

The next USFD test of the track is due on April 27 as the automatic test of railway tracks is done every two months.

Track fracture is either caused by poor maintenance or there can also be man-made factors which can be termed as “extraneous” or “sabotage”.

Besides, the source said, five trains had passed over the track prior to the ill-fated Rajya Rani Express and the loco pilots of those trains had not reported any unusual occurrence.

The real cause of the derailment will be known only after the completion of the inquiry, but there were indications towards sabotage, the source added.

Eight coaches of the Rajya Rani Express derailed near Rampur in the morning. The mishap occurred two kilometres from Rampur Junction railway station and about 100 metres from the Kosi river bridge, resulting in injuries to passengers and rail traffic disruption.

While according to Rampur police, 15 passengers were injured, three of them seriously, the railways claimed that only two passengers – Amit Katiyar and Megh Singh – were injured.

The railways has ordered an inquiry into the incident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 each for the injured passengers.

Eight rear coaches of the 22,454 Meerut City-Lucknow Rajya Rani Express derailed near Rampur on Moradabad- Shahjehanpur section of Moradabad division at 8.15 AM.

The spokesperson said the railways has been able to clear one line and the train operation on this line has started, whereas efforts are on to restore the affected line.

The Railways has announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 each for the two passengers who have received injuries in the incident.

The Accident Relief Train and Medical Relief Trains have reached on the spot for relief and first-aid work.

Pramod Kumar, the Divisional Railway Manager of Moradabad division, along with other senior railway officials, have reached the site to supervise the relief work.

The Railways have operationalised helplines at Lucknow, New Delhi, Old Delhi, Nizamuddin, Moradabad and Bareilly to help relatives of affected passengers.

Railways own Forensic Lab to investigate Accidents will be managed by Railway Protection Force

NEW DELHI: The Railway Ministry has decided to set up its own Forensic Science laboratory on the lines of the six Central Forensic Science Labs run by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The railway forensic science lab will be the first port of call for Railway investigators working on anything from a track fracture to a full-scale rail accident. It will be managed by the Railway Protection Force (RPF), said officials.

S.K. Bhagat, Director-General of the RPF said that the laboratory would cost about Rs 100 crore to set up. “At current prices, we are estimating that the capital expenditure on the building, the equipment and the like would be in the range of around Rs 70 crores. Another Rs 20-odd crores should be the anuual operational expenses,” Bhagat explained.

He said that matters relating to sabotage, which falls within the purview of the RPF, as well technical aspects of an untoward incident, which fall within the purview of the engineering departments, will be examined at the railway laboratory.

“A site for the work is being chosen and work on its will begin soon once all the formalities are completed,” said Bhagat.

It was earlier highlighted how the railways is particularly stressed over the rise in cases of sabotage on its railway tracks. Figures with the railways show that between January and February this year, the tracks have seen 40 cases of sabotage against a total of 45 such incidents between January and December 2016. Three incidents were being investigated by the National Investigation Agency and one incident by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The latest was the explosion on the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train on March 6 near Jabri in Madhya Pradesh in which 8 people were injured. A subsequent operation by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad saw the gunning down of an alleged operative – Saifullah – in Lucknow on March 7.

Mumbai, with its a train-a-minute suburban system, is a particular worry, agreed officials. One of the most worrying of incidents in Mumbai came about on January 24 at around 10:40pm when the driver of train 12052 Madgoan-Dadar Janshatabdi Express applied emergency brakes after he noticed a 7 metre long track placed on the track.

On February 6, a repeat of the incident occurred near Kalamboli where the driver of a Pune-Santragachi train had to apply emergency brakes to avoid hitting a piece of metal kept on the tracks.

Home Ministry to set up Expert Panel for Rail Tracks Security

The Home Ministry today decided to set up an expert committee to suggest steps for strengthening security of railway tracks and other assets.

The decision was taken at a meeting convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, among others.

“The Home minister (has) decided to constitute an expert committee to suggest measures to strengthen safety and security of railway tracks and property,” a spokesperson for the ministry said.

The meeting was attended by Ministers of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Jain, special secretary internal security and senior railway ministry officials.

“A fruitful coordination meeting to improve security of Indian railways and for better protection of railway assets including rail tracks,” Rijiju tweeted after the meeting.

The Home Ministry spokesperson said Singh and Prabhu discussed the recent incidents of railway accidents.

Earlier Prabhu had written to Singh seeking a detailed probe by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) into at least six incidents where accidents took place or an effort was made to cause an accident.

Following his letter, the Home Ministry handed over to the NIA the probe into three cases.

These cases include the recovery of an improvised explosive device (IED) at railway track in Ghorasahan in Bihar on October 1 last year and the incidents of derailment at Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh and Kuneru in Andhra Pradesh.

Maoists behind Kuneru rail accident in Andhra Pradesh, says NIA

VIJAYANAGARAM: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) suspects Maoists involvement in the Kuneru rail accident in Andhra Pradesh and an FIR has been registered in this regard. At least 34 passengers were killed and over 60 injured as the engine and nine coaches of the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh on 22 January. The Railways had suspected that tampering of the track near Kuneru station led to the derailment of the train.

“There is a strong indication of tampering with the track as the area is known to be a Naxal-prone zone and as Republic Day was approaching. Foul play cannot be ruled out,” sources had told PTI.

Meanwhile, Maoists early on Friday attacked a railway station in Odisha’s Rayagada district, triggered a blast and put up posters protesting against the proposed visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the state next month. The Maoists left behind handwritten posters opposing the policies of Narendra Modi government at the Centre and Naveen Patnaik regime in Odisha, officials said.

the FIR registered by the NIA on Kuneru incident said: “The Central government is of the opinion that the act of derailment is a suspected terrorist act by Left-wing extremists and is a scheduled offence under the NIA Act.”

The intelligence is not definitive as a senior NIA official said it was preliminary information and the probe was yet to be completed and they were exploring all angles. Since the area is close to the Maoist-affected zone, the suspicion of their involvement cannot be ruled out, an official told The Hindu.

One India reported that the NIA has booked a case against the Left-wing extremists under Section 150 of the Railways Act. A case under Sections 16 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act has also been booked. Kuneru, where the accident occurred is situated in Komrada Mandal of Vizianagaram district, 10 kilometres away from the Andhra-Odisha border.

Naxalites targeting trains is not something unknown. One India reported that in 2010, Naxalites had removed the fish plates on the track as a result of which a goods train crashed into the Gyaneshwari Express in which 100 people were killed. The incident took place near Jhargam in West Bengal.

According to One India, in another incident Naxalites in 2005 had looted a train in Kuneru. Three security personnel were killed in that incident before the Naxals looted Rs 15 lakh from a train.

The Hindu reported that based on Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh which alleges sabotage in at least six train accidents, three cases were transferred to the NIA. The report added that the other two cases being investigated for terror links are the Kanpur train accident when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed on 20 November, 2016, killing more than 140 people and the recovery of a pressure cooker bomb near the rail track at Ghorasan in Bihar on 1 October, 2016.

The possible reason for the Kanpur accident was earlier reported to be a rail fracture, but a recent report by Bihar police revealed a possible connection to Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI which made the derailment look like a terrorist attack. Even the Kuneru incident was suspected to the work of ISI until reports of involvement of Naxalites emerged.

Expert committee to suggest steps for improving Railway Security

Home Ministry to set up expert panel for rail tracks security

NEW DELHI: The Home Ministry today decided to set up an expert committee to suggest steps for strengthening security of railway tracks and other assets.

The decision was taken at a meeting convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, among others.

“The Home minister (has) decided to constitute an expert committee to suggest measures to strengthen safety and security of railway tracks and property,” a spokesperson for the ministry said.

The meeting was attended by Ministers of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Jain, special secretary internal security and senior railway ministry officials.

“A fruitful coordination meeting to improve security of Indian railways and for better protection of railway assets including rail tracks,” Rijiju tweeted after the meeting.

The Home Ministry spokesperson said Singh and Prabhu discussed the recent incidents of railway accidents.

The government has decided to buy hi-tech surveillance equipment for security of 200 railway stations. After a spate of incidents involving train derailment with conspiracy and sabotage angle emerging, there have been series of meetings within the Railways where Centre asked advisory to state police to beef up security around railway stations and tracks.

Earlier Prabhu had written to Singh seeking a detailed probe by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) into at least six incidents where accidents took place or an effort was made to cause an accident.

Following his letter, the Home Ministry handed over to the NIA the probe into three cases.

These cases include the recovery of an improvised explosive device (IED) at railway track in Ghorasahan in Bihar on October 1 last year and the incidents of derailment at Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh and Kuneru in Andhra Pradesh.

ISI Agent Shafi Sheikh – prime suspect in major train attacks in India, flees to Pakistan from UAE

Shafi Sheikh, ISI Agent & Islamic Terrorist

NEW DELHI: Mohd. Shafi Sheikh, an ISI agent who played key role in mobilising people in Nepal and India to plant explosives on the railway tracks in Bihar last year, is said to have fled to Pakistan from Dubai, where he had been staying, a senior Home Ministry official said.

Before India and Nepal (where he is wanted in a double murder case) could request the UAE authorities to seek Sheikh’s custody, he had already left for Pakistan.

Sheikh has been on the radar of intelligence agencies for long and has also been accused of pumping in fake currency into India through Nepal from different entry points. He has been instrumental in polluting the minds of villagers in different methods and with fake currency notes, and instigated them in various means to commit crime by planting explosives on the railway tracks in India.

Nepal contact

Shamshul Hoda, a Nepalese businessman who first met the Pakistani national in Malaysia, then in Karachi and on several occasions in Dubai, told a National Investigation Agency (NIA) team, which interrogated him in Kathmandu last month, that the latter had asked him to “create mayhem” in India.

The Nepal police had arrested Hoda on his return from Dubai on February 2 for his alleged involvement in the murder of two people, who were initially hired to carry out “spectacular incidents in India.”

While Hoda confirmed that he had been asked by Sheikh to plant explosives at Ghorasan in Motihari, Bihar, on October 1 last year, he told the NIA team that he was unaware of any such plan with regard to the Kanpur and Kuneru railway derailments.

Karachi visit

Hoda has told the Nepal police that he went to Karachi seven months back on Sheikh’s invitation, where he allegedly met three other persons.

“Hoda told us that he was not sure about the association of Shafi [Sheikh] and three others with Pakistan’s ISI but he says he was asked to do something spectacular in India. He says he stayed in a bungalow at Karachi for two days, where he was treated well and asked to rope in his local contacts to create trouble in India,” a Nepal police official said.

The NIA was tasked with investigating the three railway accidents for any terror-related conspiracy after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu shot off a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh alleging “sabotage.”

Mr. Prabhu’s letter was sent after Moti Paswan, one of the three persons arrested by the Bihar police in January for his alleged involvement in planting a pressure cooker bomb at Ghorasan, claimed to have planted the bomb in Kanpur, which led to the derailment of the Indore-Patna Express on November 20, 2016.

However, when an NIA team quizzed him, Paswan said he was only boasting about his involvement. “Bihar police has told us that after Paswan, recently two more people arrested for other criminal offences confessed on their own to have committed the Kanpur accident; we are not sure about the claims and are investigating,” said a senior NIA official.

During an election rally in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh on February 23, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the Kanpur accident was “a conspiracy and conspirators carried it out sitting across the border.”

However, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament on Wednesday that “the Prime Minister did not directly mention ISI’s name in the Kanpur train derailment case” and investigations in three train accidents were yet to be completed by the NIA.

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Railway track sabotaged in Gujarat, claim officials

VADODARA: A possible train mishap was averted in Narmada district of Gujarat when officials found over hundred elastic rail clips, across three kms of tracks, removed allegedly by unknown persons. The matter came to light during track inspection last afternoon by the gangmen near Amletha village railway station in Narmada district on the Vadodara Railway Division of Western Railway.

106 elastic rail clips – used with concrete sleepers to fix rail tracks tightly on both sides — were removed within a distance of around three kms between Amletha and Taropa railway stations in Narmada district under Western Railway zone, a railway official said. Corrective measures were taken immediately and the track made safe before the passing of a train in the evening, they said. He added that Ankleshwar-Rajpipla passenger train is the only train that passes through this route, one going from Rajpipla to Ankleshwar in the morning and another coming from the other side in the evening.

Coincidentally, on Mondays the train passes through the track only once in the evening, the official said. “The miscreants might have removed the clips during the night of Sunday or early Monday morning,” said the official. “We came to know about it on Monday afternoon and fixed the problem in time. No train passes through this sector on Monday morning,” the official added. An FIR was registered today against unknown persons at Amletha police station.

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While the sabotages on the Railway areas is growing manifold day by day and Railways struggling hard to improve and safeguard safety of trains, ironically, the President of the Southern Railway Mazdoor Union C.A. Raja Sridhar said the Union Government tried to take shield for its failure to ensure safety by claiming the reason for two recent major train accidents was sabotage and said that the Central Government is compromising on safety of rail passengers with over 1.20 lakh posts in the safety department of Indian Railway lying vacant. He said that the police denied sabotage angle and charged that the Railway Ministry was taking “cosmetic” measures like providing wi-fi services to the passengers while safety was ignored. Indian Railway should concentrate more on system failures which were equally responsible for accidents like human errors. Mr. Sridhar also accused the Centre of attempting to dilute labour laws in the guise of effecting ease of business. The Centre had promised to look into several demands of Central Government employees when they served a strike notice in July 2016. Though committees were formed to look into their demands, no recommendations had so far been made, he said. Union divisional secretary J.M. Rafi and Additional divisional secretary V. Ram Kumar were present.

Many Railway stations on Terror radar; one held in Begusarai

PATNA: Several railway stations, including Varanasi, Kanpur and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Chhapra and Gaya in Bihar, are on the target of terror outfits, police on Wednesday said following the recovery of three railways route maps from terror suspect arrested on Tuesday in Begusarai, around 125km from Patna.

Apart from Varanasi, which is also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, Kanpur, Lucknow, Gaya, Chhapra were marked with pencil on the railway route maps seized from Soni. Clippings of a Hindi vernacular daily of January 18 about East Champaran police suspecting track sabotage after the arrest of three criminals were also found from his possession. Four cellphones, seven sim cards, a fake Aadhaar card in his name and some other items were also seized from his room.

Police sources said Soni was arrested from Karor Khanjapur under Cheria Bariyarpur police station area of Begusarai district. “Soni started hurling abuses when he was smeared with colours by villagers on Holi night. Police took him for medical test, but no trace of alcohol was found in his blood. Even a day after, he remained aggressive after which his room was searched leading to the recovery of the maps and his arrest on Tuesday,” said a police officer.

Sources said Soni admitted his involvement in the Indore-Patna Express derailment near Kanpur on November 21 last year. At least 150 passengers had lost their lives in the accident. He also revealed the names of six other persons from Jaunpur and Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh for their involvement in Kanpur track sabotage.

“A three-member team of UP police anti-terrorism squad (ATS) reached Begusarai on Wednesday to interrogate the suspect,” Begusarai SP Ranjeet Kumar Mishra told.

Apart from UP ATS, a team of Bihar ATS, special branch and Intelligence Bureau officials are also quizzing the suspect.

Sources said Soni tried to mislead the police by saying that he is a native of Faizabad, but he belongs to Karakat in Jaunpur. “His grandmother and brother have been traced in Jaunpur. He has been living at his in-laws’ house in Begusarai since July last year. Villagers said his activities were suspicious,” a police source said.

When asked, a police officer said Soni did not reveal anything about Umashankar Patel, Motilal Paswan and Mukesh Yadav, who had been arrested by Motihari police for their involvement in the bomb blast on the track near Nakardei railway station and one such failed attempt near Ghorasahan station in East Champaran last year.

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team investigating the recent railway track sabotage cases in India also reached Begusarai on Wednesday evening.

8 injured in blast in Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train

ATS will probe Bhopal-Ujjain train explosion: MP CM Chouhan. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu to reach out to the blast victims.

BHOPAL: At least eight persons were today injured, two of them seriously, in a blast in the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train near Jabdi station in the district, a railway official said. The blast occurred in a general coach of the train between 9.30 AM and 10 AM when it was on its way to Ujjain from Bhopal, Railway PRO, Indore, Jitendra Kumar Jayant said.

A bomb disposal squad has reached the accident site, which is around 81 km from Bhopal, and is trying to ascertain the cause and the nature of the blast. “The ceiling of the coach was damaged in the blast but so far we have not found any explosive device or its remains from the spot,” Superintendent of Police, GRP Indore, Krishnaveni Desavatu told PTI.

“However, a suitcase was found in the coach and the bomb disposal squad is examining it,” he said. The PRO said that two coaches were damaged in the blast. They were separated from the train which later left for its onward journey. The two seriously injured persons were referred to a hospital in Bhopal.The others were undergoing treatment at a hospital in Kalapipal town, which is close to the accident site.

Additional Director General of Police, Ujjain, Madhu Kumar and senior officials of Ratlam railway division have rushed to the accident site. The exact cause of the blast will be known after examination of the affected coach, Kumar said. The glass panes of the windows in the general coach were shattered in the blast, which occurred when the train was about to reach Jabdi station.

The Jabdi station falls between Kalapipal and Sehore railway stations. Following the blast, the train came to a halt. Smoke engulfed the general coach, causing panic among the passengers who rushed out to save themselves. A relief train has been rushed to the mishap site, the PRO said. The Railways have made available helpline numbers for those seeking information about their relatives in the train.

The numbers are – Ujjain 0734-1072 and 0734-60906, Indore 0731-1072, 0731-2521044, 0731-2521045 and 0731-2521046, Ratlam 07412-1072, Nagda 07366-1072, Bhopal 0755-4001606 and 0755-56508 and Habibganj 0755-4001603 and 0755-55551.

Taking cognizance of the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train blast, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday said he is observing the situation personally, adding that an investigation has been initiated by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and forensic teams.

“The Superintendent of Police and collector are present at the spot. ATS and forensic teams are investigating under Director General (DG). I am also observing the situation personally,” Chouhan told. Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh Government announced Rs. 25,000 compensation to the injured and Rs. 50,000 to the critically injured persons.

At least nine people were injured after an explosion took place in Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train in Madhya Pradesh’s Shajapur district. As per the reports,the incident took place at around 9.45 a.m. Bhopal Division PRO, I.A. Siddiqui said that the injured passengers were admitted to a government hospital and a medical team is also sent to the location. Meanwhile, Indian Railways press representative Anil Saxena said that they are investigating the reason of the blast. “We are investigating the reason of the blast. Railway Protection Force (RPF) and forensic experts have reached on the spot,” Saxena told

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DGP holds high-level meet to discuss Rail Sabotage incidents

NEW DELHI: A high-level co-ordination meeting chaired by Maharashtra Director General of Police, Satish Mathur was held here to discuss various security issues plaguing the Railways with focus on suspected rail sabotage incidents across the state, police officials said today.

The meeting was held yesterday at the DGP office and was attended by senior police officers from various districts, sleuths of the Anti-Terrorism Squad, Railway Police officers from neighbouring states, Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials, and Zonal officers of Railway administration as well as Mumbai Rail Vikas Nigam Corporation (MRVC) officials.

Five incidents of suspected rail sabotage were detected across the state in the last couple of months.

Deliberations were held on the ongoing investigation into these incidents besides suggestions to prevent them, a senior police official said.

Also, security issues like unauthorised gates, verification of antecedents of employees of contractual staff in Railways, inspection of railway bridges, tunnels and their repairs, track patrolling, removing of strewn rail pieces along railway tracks and implementation of integrated security system was discussed, the official added.

Suresh Prabhu bats for separate Forensic Sciences, DNA Fingerprinting Research & Analysis Lab for Indian Railways

Minister for Railways holds a video conference with the Director Generals and Commissioners of Police of all States/Union Territories. Suresh Prabhu eemphasizes the need for Sharing of Intelligence and urge for separate Forensic Science Lab for Indian Railways

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has advocated for creation of a dedicated Railway Forensic Sciences, DNA Fingerprinting Research & Analysis Lab for scientific analysis of Railway accidents and ascertaining the causes of train mishaps in the country.

In the light of repeated incidents of placing obstruction on tracks and attempts of cutting of tracks by miscreants, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has emphasised the need for effective coordination among various security and law enforcement agencies involved in passenger safety and security.

In a video conference meeting with Director Generals or Commissioners of Police of all states and Union Territories, Prabhu advocated the setting up of a separate Forensic Sciences & Research Lab.

Suresh Prabhu emphasized for extensive cooperation and coordination among various agencies sharing intelligence inputs to ensure safe train operations. The Forensic sciences establishment should have multiple teams from various establishments on deputation covering the operational, environmental, geological, mechanical, information technology, communications. The experts for setting up of Railways Forensics Lab should comprise of teams from different organisations like Railways, Home Affairs, Army, Intelligence, Information Technology, Police the State Government departments. He instructed the Director General (Railways) to also take the help of CERT-IN for setting up the Lab.

Prabhu suggested felicitation of security personnel for their outstanding job done to prevent sabotage.

During the video conference, Minister of State for Home Affiars Hansraj Gangaram Ahir was also present along with senior railway and RPF officials.

Ahir in his address shared his concern on recent criminal activities on Railways resulting in ghastly accidents involving heavy loss of lives and advised state police and all other agencies to be careful about the designs of anti-national elements.

He also asked the state police to provide full cooperation to Railways.

RPF DG SK Bhagat highlighted major incidents of sabotage during 2015 and 2016 and expressed concern over the sharp increase in such cases during 2017.

The first two months have witnessed close to 20 such cases this year.

Bhagat also mentioned that three cases have been entrusted to NIA for investigation and one has been referred to CBI.

Member Staff Railway Board Shri Pradeep Kumar also addressed the genuine concerns of the State Police/GRP pertaining to the Railways.

DG, RPF Shri S.K.Bhagat in his welcome address highlighted major incidents of sabotage that occurred during the year 2015 and 2016 and expressed his concern over the sharp increase in such cases during the year 2017. He also mentioned that three cases have been entrusted to NIA for investigation and one case has been referred to CBI for investigation. All the participants of States and UT shared their expectations from Railways and also gave valuable suggestions to improve safety and security of Railways.

During the video conference, Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Minister of State for Home Affairs was also present. apart from Member Staff Railway Board Shri Pradeep Kumar, Member Traffic Railway Board Shri Mohd. Jamshed, other Railway Board Members, other senior officials of Railway Board, senior officers from Ministry of Home Affairs, RPF & Police who took part in the meeting.

Major train accident avoided as 44 Peddle Clips found open

SAHEBGANJ: A major train accident was averted in Jharkhand’s Sahebganj (Eastern Railway), as 44 peddles were found open near Balbanna village. The Railway administration was shocked with the scenario. The Investigation Bureau team along with Superintendent of Railway Police visited the spot and are currently probing the case. The bureau has termed it as extremely serious. An FIR has been registered and probe is going on in this regard.

Goods Train derails between Ravli-Kurla – Derailment comes a day after weekly maintenance

MUMBAI: Harbour line services were halted on the Central Railways line after three wagons and brake van of a goods train derailed between Ravli and Kurla here, on down harbour line early on Monday Morning. However, Suburban trains services are running between Kurla and Panvel without any disruption. Railway authorities are clearing the tracks to resume services on the suburban line. No causalities have been reported till now. Further details are awaited.

Three wagons and the brake van of a goods train derailed at Ravli Junction near Wadala station on the Harbour line before Monday dawn as it was crossing from the Mumbai Port Trust territory towards GTB Nagar station on Kurla-bound tracks. The derailment came a day after the regular weekly maintenance block between CST and Chunabhatti stations -covering the accident site -was taken on Sunday . The cause of the failure is suspected to be rail fracture, which can occur because of a maintenance problem, normal wear and tear, and extreme climatic conditions, said officials. “A high-level inquiry should be ordered. It should have members from the railway board. Accountability should be fixed in case the findings reveal negligence,“ said CR’s divisional rail user’s consultative committee member Jitesh Matalia.

The services were suspended from 4.10 am to 8.17 pm between CST and Kurla. Since Harbour doesn’t have a slow as well as a fast corridor, any block on its tracks mean the line is shut down. CR ran shuttle services between Kurla and Panvel, but they took inordinately long. “The trains were overcrowded and it was quite a task to get off at Kurla. It took me almost 1.15 hours to reach Kurla as against normal travel time of 30 minutes,“ said Belapur resident Sanjay Biswas. Asked why it took over 16 ho urs to restart services, an official explained: “The derailed wagons had to be emptied before they could be cleared. The brake-van was re-railed at 5.50 pm.Thereafter, the Over Head Equipment (OHE) wire had to restored before the route was declared fit to run regular services.“

The tracks too had to be checked and restored. The long suspension of normal services triggered chaos due to overcrowding at Kurla as CR had allowed Harbour line passengers to use main line trains to CST and vice-versa. CR had to deploy senior officials at Kurla along with a heavy contingent of Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel to ensure the overcrowding did not lead to stampede during the peak hours. “It took me almost 10 minutes to reach from the East side of the foot overbridge to the West side because of the crowds,“ said Kurla resident Sachin Rane. Panvel commuter Ashwini Patade said, “There was so much overcrowding that one commuter had to get off at Chembur as she felt short of breath due to lack of oxygen.“ Of the 75 lakh commuters in the city , nearly 1215 lakh travel by Harbour line, and the numbers have grown by 10% per annum.

Derailment of Coaches causes delay in Departure of Trains in Thiruvananthapuram Division

Four empty coaches of Kanniyakumari-Howrah Express derailed while being shunted at Nagercoil station on Friday night.

Following this, the train was rescheduled to depart at 12 noon on Saturday instead of the scheduled departure of 7.50 a.m., Kanniyakumari-Mumbai Jayanthi Janata Express at 10 a.m. instead of 6.40 a.m. and Nagercoil-Coimbatore Passenger at 2 p.m. instead of 7.15 a.m. Chennai-bound Guruvayoor Express skipped Nagercoil Junction and was operated via Nagercoil Town station. The Kanniyakumari Express from Chennai arrived at 7.40 a.m. instead of 6.30 a.m. Similarly, Ananthapuri Express proceeding to Thiruvananthapuram also reached Nagercoil an hour behind schedule.

The derailed coaches were put back on the tracks by 4 a.m. on Saturday. Two cranes from Thiruvananthapuram were brought for the purpose.

Kanniyakumari District Rail Users Association president S.R. Sreeram said that lack of proper maintenance of tracks and inadequate ballast caused frequent derailments in this section.

As Kanniyakumari station lacked even basic facilities, rakes of all terminating trains were brought back to Nagercoil for maintenance. Kanniyakumari should be made a railway terminal with all facilities, including full-fledged watering, cleaning, mechanical and electrical maintenance. If these facilities were there, many problems could be solved, Mr. Sreeram said.

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Narrow Gauge Train escapes Sabotage bid on Gwalior-Sheopur line

Miscreants had placed around 70 Stone Slabs on the two-foot-wide tracks continuously for 3km distance, jeopardising the lives of hundreds of passengers.

BHOPAL: Sabotage attempts continue to plague the world’s longest narrow gauge tracks — the 202km Gwalior-Sheopur line that dates back to 1895. The latest derailment bid was foiled by the alertness of the motorman on Wednesday night.

Miscreants had placed around 70 stone slabs on the two-foot-wide tracks, jeopardising the lives of hundreds of passengers, said officials. As it is the only railway link for towns between these two districts, nearly 1,000 passengers pile on these trains every day, some travelling dangerously on the roof.

The train was heading towards Gwalior from Sumawali when loco pilot Rajesh Jain spotted large stones on the tracks. He pulled the emergency brakes and the train stopped less than 10 feet from the stones. The obstruction was removed and the train continued but only 300 metres down the line, Jain saw another large stone. Since he was going slow, he was able to stop well in time. This blockade was cleared with the help of passengers. But the ordeal continued. They found 68 more slabs in the next 3km.

Speed was reduced to 10kmph and it took nearly two hours to cover just 3km, sources said. The train had left Sumawali at 6.32pm and reached Gwalior at 9pm where the matter was reported. Investigations are underway to identify and arrest those involved, say sources. This is not the first time attempt to derail a train on this line, say sources.

The heritage track, once known as Gwalior Light Railway (GLR) or ‘Maharaja Railways of India’, is now part of North Central Railway (NCR). The railways wants to replace the narrow gauge tracks with broad gauge because of “undue expenditure”. A proposal of Rs 1,500 crore for this is pending with the Centre, sources said.

Established by Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia II, construction started in 1895 and was completed in 1909. The route connects 28 small towns between Gwalior and Sheopur. In 2009, the Centre had proposed that the tracks be included in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.

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Key accused in Kanpur and Ghorasahan rail track sabotage incidents surrenders in Court

Bhojpuri film men, lured by ISI, arrested for plotting train derailment in Bihar

PATNA: One of the key accused in Kanpur and Ghorasahan rail track sabotage incidents, Gajendra Sharma, surrendered before a court in East Champaran district on Monday. Police sources said Gajendra, a named accused in Ghorasahan blast attempt case, was also involved in the derailment of Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur in which at least 150 people were killed on November 21 last year.  The investigation from NIA has thrown up at least three key links to the regional film industry. Dream merchants from India’s eastern heartland and Nepal have helped Pakistan’s spy agency ISI in its attempts to stage nightmarish train derailments so they could get their Bhojpuri movie projects on track.

Police also arrested two more persons – Deepu Kumar and Suraj Kumar – from Chhoradano in East Champaran district for their alleged involvement in Nakardei rail track blast on December 3. The alleged involvement of Pakistan’s ISI in Nakardei rail track blast came to light after the arrest of Shamshul Huda, an ISI agent, from Kathmandu in Nepal.

The Bihar police had dismissed the incident as ‘rumour’ and did not even register FIR against anyone.

Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the rail track sabotages on Tuesday secured additional four-day police remand of Umashankar Patel, Motilal Paswan and Mukesh Yadav, all accused in Ghorasahan and Kanpur cases. Earlier, the special NIA court of judge Manoj Singh had granted 11-day police remand for the trio on February 4.

The derailment and blast conspiracies were allegedly hatched by ISI of Pakistan. ISI agent Shamshul Huda, a Nepalese citizen, was handling the terror mission from Dubai. Huda was arrested by Nepal police in Kathmandu on February 5. His interrogation later revealed another railway track blast near Nakardei in East Champaran.

Mujahir Ansari, Brajkishore Giri alias Baba Giri, Ashish Singh Kurmi alias Sujeet and Umesh Giri, all associates of Huda, have already been arrested by Nepal police.

Bhojpuri film men, lured by ISI, arrested for plotting train derailment in Bihar

The National Investigation Agency’s probe into the Ghorasan incident from Bihar in which an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was found near a railway track on October 1 has thrown up at least three key links to the regional film industry.

The first is Brajkishore Giri, an actor who also owns the Big Bollywood studio in Nepal’s Beergiri area. Another name is of Gajendra Sharma, proprietor of the Dangal Studio in Bihar’s Motihari city who also ran an orchestra for weddings and other events. The third is Mukesh Yadav, a Bhojpuri songwriter.

All three were allegedly lured by the money ISI promised in return for derailing Indian trains.

All the accused have landed in the police net in Nepal and India. According to NIA sources, acting on behest of Sheikh Shafi, a Pakistan-based ISI handler, Shamshul Hoda, who’s a Nepalese citizen, was tasked with hiring Indian men to carry out train derailments. Hoda is known to have contacted Brajkishore Giri, a man with ambitions who was bitten by the Bhojpuri movie bug.

Over 150 people died on November 21 when the Indore-Patna Express flew off the tracks. A month later, 50 people were injured when the Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailed. Both incidents took place near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Authorities are probing the possibility of sabotage in these and a clutch of other train crashes in the past six months.

Already having acted in Bhojpuri films such as Raftar, Brajkishore Giri was working in an underproduction project Ae Moray Jaan Tohray Mein Bas Le Hamray Pran when he was arrested by Nepal Police. After being approached by Hoda, Giri used his Bhojpuri movie contacts to rope in Gajendra Sharma and Mukesh Yadav.

Brajkishore Giri was baited with money amounting to several lakhs, which he wanted to pump into the film business to fulfil his “own dream of producing a Bhojpuri movie”. The agency is also probing a fake Indian currency racket linked to the ISI conspiracy.

Giri contacted Gajendra Sharma, who also made low-budget movies in Motihari. The third among the Bhojpuri movie trio is Mukesh Yadav, one of the first arrests made in the case by Bihar Police. He is a songwriter.

Gajendra, whose music studio was leaking money, allegedly conspired with Giri. But with Gajendra’s surrender in Motihari, Bihar, the NIA is hoping to complete the jigsaw puzzle in the ISI-hatched plot.

Three people – Moti Paswan, Uma Shankar and Mukesh Yadav – were arrested last month from Bihar’s East Champaran district and they reportedly pointed to ISI’s role in the Indore-Patna Express derailment. Sources said on the instructions of ISI handler Shafi, Hoda hired Arun and Deepak, two of Mukesh Yadav’s links, who were tasked to derail a train in Ghorasan.

“However, the duo developed cold feet,” said sources.

“The powerful IED was later discovered by children playing near the rail track.

The authorities were informed and the bomb exploded while it was being taken aside, though no one was injured. With the use of sulphur and ammonium nitrate, a cocktail of explosives was prepared, but the plan of ISI failed with the discovery of the bomb.”

Arun and Deepak were called to Nepal where they were allegedly eliminated by the ISI. Sources say that songwriter Mukesh was also called to that country, but he survived because he did not show up.

They added that a team will soon go to Nepal to question Hoda and Giri. They will also examine the funding in the case, which is suspected to be in fake Indian currency.

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Sabotages – miscreants cut rail track near Chandausi on NR; Goods train on Konkan hits Fishplate placed on tracks

Sabotage attempts continue to mar Indian Railways. The two incidents in the last 24 hours – one on Konkan Railway and the other on the Moradabad Division of Northern Railway throw Railway officials into tizzy.

MUMBAI: In yet another instance of mischief or sabotage, a fish-plate (equipment that joins two sets of tracks) was kept on the tracks between Rajapur and Vaibhavwadi on Konkan Railway. A goods train going from Mumbai to Madgaon in Goa passing on the tracks at around 3:15 pm hit the fish-plate but fortunately did not derail. The loco pilot of the train lodged an FIR with the local police. Senior officials are monitoring the situation.

Incidentally, Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu travelled on the Konkan Kanya to Ratnagiri on the same tracks later in the evening.

Cut in track detected near Chandausi Railway station

A possible rail mishap was today averted after a cut in a track was detected between Chandausi and Moradabad railway sections in the district, in yet another incident of track damage.

The 32 mm cut in track was detected at 3:15 AM near Mohammadganj village following which senior officers were informed. An alert Railway Gangman on patrolling duty informed rail authorities about an attempt by miscreants to cut tracks between Chandausi-Bahjoi. Police and GRP have launched a probe into the incident.

Equipment used to cut it was also found near the track.

Senior officers and forensic teams have reached the spot and are probing the matter.

“At 06:45 am, keyman Soomveer of Gate No 1 reported attempt to cut rail by miscreants at km 72/4-5 in block section Chandausi-Bahjoi,” a railway official said.

Kankavali police registered a case against unidentified persons for causing danger to the railway passenger’s as well as train’s safety.

On February 9, four gelatin sticks were found on the railway tracks near Taloja in Navi Mumbai, but police said it looked like act of mischief rather than sabotage attempt.

A day before, discarded overhead equipment was spotted lying on the rail lines in Raigad district in Konkan.

On January 24, a seven-metre-long rail piece was found on the tracks near Diva station near Mumbai. The alert driver of Madgaon-Dadar Janshatabdi Express averted a mishap by applying the emergency brakes. On February 6, a huge piece of rail rod was found on the tracks between Kalamboli and Taloja stations at Navi Mumbai in Raigad district.

The incident comes just a couple of days after a key suspect in the Kanpur train derailment was arrested from Kathmandu after being deported from Dubai. A special team of Nepal police arrested ISI agent Samshul Hoda along with three others at the Tribhuvan International Airport on February 7.

Over 140 people were killed and dozens other injured when Indore-Patna Express derailed near Kanput on November 20, 2016. A month later, fifteen bogies of Sealdah-Ajmer Express derailed near Rura in Kanpur injuring over 40.

Earlier on February 9, an attempt was made to damage a railway track on Chandausi-Aligarh route near Chandausi railway station here.

On a tip off, police had detected equipment near track and on inspection found that attempts were made to damage the track.

There has been a spurt in incidents of damage to track in the country this year.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had told Lok Sabha recently that there had been seven “blast attempts” and three cases of attempted sabotage of rail tracks.

“There have been unusual activities in the last few days and some incidents were averted due to the alertness of railway personnel,” the Minister had said.

Railways have cited “outside interference” as the possible reason of derailment in more than 40 such cases this year.

Citing some recent incidents, a railway official had said “outside interference was found” in some cases near Kanpur, Mumbai, Hajipur and other areas where fish plates were removed and a large rail piece was placed on the track.

The recent rail accidents in Uttar Pradesh, which is scheduled to vote for Assembly election in seven phases starting February 11, have the security agencies working over time to safeguard tracks and other important rail installations. Investigations have pointed towards involvement of foreign terror groups.

The Railways was now in the process of putting in place latest technology like ultrasonic track detection system to find out fractures so that early warning can prevent mishaps.

Besides technology, Prabhu has said the Railway Protection Force has been asked to evolve a forensic strategy.

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GM/SCR asks Top Officials to involve in Safety Inspections, call for immediate Remedial Actions in Safety Tasks

SECUNDERABAD: Safety is a continuous process and complacency is not acceptable said Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway. He was addressing a Video Conference of Divisional Railway Manager’s of all six Divisions i.e. Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded from Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad today i.e. 13th February 2017. Principal Heads of Departments were also present in the meeting.

The General Manager in his address called upon all the Zonal and Divisional officials to regularly involve in safety inspections and ambush checks. Officials should adhere to safety norms while doing inspections said the General Manager and asked them to record even the minute details in the safety report with proper remedies for the same. To ensure safety carryout system improvements too wherever applicable he added.

Vinod Kumar Yadav stated that all measures should be taken to ensure safety and punctuality in train movements for the entire Zone. He stressed upon the need to reduce rail fractures, weld failures and other unsafe features at level crossings as part of ensuring safety. He informed the officials to check the feasibility of eliminating all unmanned level crossings by constructing Road under Bridges etc.

D.K. Singh, Chief Safety Officer made a Power Point Presentation of Safety position on the Zone. S.N. Singh, Principal Chief Engineer; N. Madhusudana Rao, Chief Operations Manager; P. Ganeswara Rao, Chief Commercial Manager; Smt. Padmini Radhakrishnan, FA & CAO; M.S. Mahaboob Ali, Chief Signal & Telecommunications Engineer; Arjun Mundiya, Chief Mechanical Engineer; N.V. Ramana Reddy, Chief Personnel Officer were amongst the officials present.

Recovery Rate of Contraband Goods by RPF goes up on Northeast Frontier Railway

File Pic: Rattan Chand, Chief Security Commissioner RPF/NFR addressing the press conference on achievements of RPF on NFR during 2016 and “Sankalp” for the year 2017 by CSC/NFR at NFR HQ Conference Hall, Maligaon in Guwahati on 07-01-2017

GUWAHATI: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) under Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has managed to increase its success rate with regard to recovery of contrabands with a total of 134 such cases detected during 2016.

Official sources said that various contraband goods like ganja, phensedyl, liquor and cigarettes were recovered on 134 occasions during last year as against only 70 such cases in 2015, registering a year-on-year growth of over 91 per cent success rate in operations to seize such items.

The value of the contraband items recovered in 2016 was Rs 3.63 crore compared to Rs 2.62 crore in 2015. This was a growth of over 36 per cent.

In addition, 68 persons were arrested for their alleged involvement in shipping of contraband items, which is a big jump from 24 arrests made by RPF in the NFR zone during 2015.

“There has been a substantial increase in detection, recovery and arrests,” said an official.

RPF also detected 41 cases of illegal carrying of forest products at various places under the NFR zone during 2016.

The recovered items were worth almost Rs 25 lakh. Altogether, 5 arrests were made in connection with illegal transportation of forest products by the RPF.

“The detection and recovery made in this regard increased by 32.25 per cent and over 398 per cent respectively in 2016 as compared to 2015,” the official said.

During the year, RPF of NFR also recovered explosives, including four power gel 801 explosives, four coils of red, blue, yellow and green-coloured wires measuring about 12 feet each, 35 packets of detonators, 74 packets of gelatine sticks and 31 coils of fuse wire.

Besides, it also recovered 20 live rounds of ammunition of INSAS rifle, ten rounds of 9 mm pistol bullets, three rounds of AK-47 ammunition, five rounds of 7.62 mm pistol bullets and one pistol.

A total of nine persons were arrested for carrying the recovered explosives, arms and ammunitions.

NFR Public Relations Officer (PRO) Nripen Bhattacharya said that for the interest of rail users, RPF security helpline No.182 has been introduced and made active in all security control rooms of the divisions for providing quick assistance to passengers in need.

“Presently, 13 lines of help line No. 182 are operational to receive grievances of passengers, including three each in Katihar, Lumding and Alipurduar divisions, and two each in Rangiya and Tinsukia divisions. Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) has been constituted at some important railway stations for attending to the callers in need and to take necessary steps,” he said.

CID hands over Kuneru Rail Accident Case to NIA

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Andhra Pradesh government has handed over the investigation into the rail accident at Kuneru in Vizianagaram to the National Investigation Authority (NIA).

According to sources, the development happened a couple of days ago. “CID officials have sent fractured rails and other objects found at the scene of the accident to the forensic laboratory at Hyderabad. They later handed over the investigation findings to the NIA,” they said.

On January 21, 40 passengers were killed and several injured when seven coaches and the engine of 18448 Jagadalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed near Kuneru railway station.

The Union home ministry had ordered a probe by the NIA, while the state government had asked the CID to conduct its enquiry. Initially, railway officials too had not ruled out sabotage by Maoists.

The CID team did not find any evidence of involvement of naxals or particles of explosive material at the mishap site. However, they had sent the fractured rails and other material collected at the accident spot to the forensic lab. A five-member team of the NIA had also visited the accident spot and interacted with the injured persons two days after the mishap.

“On orders of the home ministry, the case was transferred to the NIA. As off now, there is no evidence of naxal involvement in the mishap. If they wish to do it, they would have struck at any place from Rayagada to Kuneru and not at the railway station. The rails are not easy to cut. You can do it only with gas cutters and it would not be possible to do so near the station with a railway employee being always present at the signalling cabin and the platform being so close,” a senior official of CID said.

Now, Gelatin Sticks found on Rail Track near Taloja Station in Navi Mumbai

MUMBAI: Indian Railways is bleeding with repeated sabotage attempts. Yet in an another incident, atleast four gelatin sticks were found on the railway tracks near Taloja in Navi Mumbai few hours back, a day after an overhead equipment was spotted to have been deployed on the rail lines in Raigad district, as authorities roped in security agencies to probe a series of suspected cases of sabotage.

The gelatin sticks were found near Taloja station on the Diva-Panvel route of Central Railway this morning by some gangmen. The development comes in the backdrop of three suspected acts of sabotage in the Mumbai metropolitan region in the last fortnight.

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However, police denied the sabotage angle as far as the recovery of gelatin sticks was concerned, saying it could be an “act of mischief” as no detonator was attached to them.

Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale said, “Some gangmen, while checking the railway tracks, saw the gelatin sticks around 9 am near Taloja station on the Diva-Panvel route. They informed the railway officials about it, who informed the police.

“The gelatin sticks look very old and discarded and they may not be live. No detonator was attached to them, so there is no possibility of them exploding on their own. Somebody might have played a mischief to create panic”.

This is the third such incident reported from the railway tracks of Navi Mumbai area in the last few days. Nagrale said a case would be registered against unidentified persons under the Explosive Substances Act and Railways Act at Taloja police station.

In the wee hours yesterday, a six-foot-long discarded overhead equipment was found lying on the railway tracks between Jasai and Dapoli stations near Uran.

Around 3 am yesterday, an alert driver of a JNPT-bound goods train, coming from Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh, spotted the object and applied the brakes, resulting in a halt around 50 metres from the abandoned rail piece, a railway official said.

On January 24, a seven-metre-long rail piece, weighing around 400 kgs, was found on the tracks near Diva station adjoining Mumbai. The alert driver of the Madgaon-Dadar Janshatabdi Express had then averted a mishap by applying the emergency brakes. On February 6, a huge piece of rail rod was found on the tracks between Kalamboli and Taloja stations at Navi Mumbai in Raigad district.

The series of suspected sabotage incidents has sent the Railways and police authorities into a tizzy and central intelligence agencies and anti-terror units have been roped in to crack them.

“We have registered a case against an unknown person in the third suspected sabotage incident near Uran and we have informed agencies such as the ATS and IB in this connection,” ACP, Panvel, Prakash Nilewad said.

Chief PRO of Central Railway Narendra Patil said, “In the wake of these incidents, our staff is taking extra care. These discarded pieces were spotted as part of that.”

Nilewad added that no arrest has been made in connection with the overhead equipment found lying on the railway tracks between Jasai and Dapoli stations on Wednesday.

A senior officer in the Mumbai Division of the Railway Protection Force said, apart from stepping up patrolling along the tracks, their staff was extending all the support to the probe agencies.

“It would be a bit premature to jump to the conclusion that these are acts of terrorism or sabotage, but all the agencies, including the RPF, are leaving no stone unturned to nab those involved in these cases,” the official said.

Although, no suspected case of sabotage has so far been reported from the Western Railway (WR), its officials say that they are taking all measures to prevent such incidents.

General Manager of WR GC Agrawal said, “So far, such cases have only been reported under CR, but it does not mean that it cannot take place in the WR areas. We have already taken serious cognisance of the cases and have held talks at the railway board level as everyone is concerned about them.”

He said the departments concerned have been asked to remove the rail pieces lying along the tracks.

“Usually, we are not supposed to keep small rail pieces around the tracks. So, the departments concerned, including the engineering and stores sections, have been asked to look into the matter,” said Agrawal.

Another train derailment attempt foiled, miscreants try to cut rail track on Chandausi-Bahjoi section in UP

An alert gangman informed rail authorities about an attempt by miscreants to cut tracks between Chandausi-Bahjoi. Police and GRP have launched a probe into the incident that happened in Moradabad Division of Northern Railway in Uttar Pradesh!

CHANDAUSI: A major rail disaster was averted in Uttar Pradesh today after a gangman alerted the authorities of an attempt by miscreants to cut the track. The incident took place between Chandausi and Bahjoi.

“At 06:45 am, keyman Somveer of Gate No 1 reported attempt to cut rail by miscreants at km 72/4-5 in block section Chandausi-Bahjoi,” a railway official said.

Soon after the information, local police and GRP rushed to the spot and recovered tools used in the attempted sabotage. Dog squad and a forensic team were also rushed to the spot.

The police have initiated an investigation to nab the culprits behind the train derailment attempt.

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The incident comes just a couple of days after a key suspect in the Kanpur train derailment was arrested from Kathmandu after being deported from Dubai.

A special team of Nepal police arrested ISI agent Md.Samshul Hoda along with three others at the Tribhuvan International Airport on February 7.

Over 150 people were killed and dozens other injured when Indore-Patna Express derailed near Kanput on November 20, 2016. A month later, fifteen bogies of Sealdah-Ajmer Express derailed near Rura in Kanpur injuring over 40.

The recent rail accidents in Uttar Pradesh, which is scheduled to vote for Assembly election in seven phases starting February 11, have the security agencies working over time to safeguard tracks and other important rail installations. Investigations have pointed towards involvement of foreign terror groups.

Boulders Placed on Tracks: Alert Locopilot averts Major Accident near Mallaghatta on Bangalore-Tumkur Rail Line

The Railway police arrested Md.Rafique, Md.Shafi and Md.Iqbal from Hirisave village for instigating the villagers in Kannada language to place boulders on the tracks.

BANGALORE: An alert locopilot of a speeding train applied sudden brakes after noticing boulders on tracks and averted a major accident on the newly laid rail line near Mallaghatta in Kunigal taluk of Tumakuru district on Thursday.

The incident happened when Commissioner of Railway Safety and over 200 South Western Railway (SWR) officials, mainly from the technical wing, were inspecting the new rail line and conducting a trial run in the train fitted with 10 coaches.

A group of residents from Mallaghatta village had placed boulders on the tracks to draw the attention to their demand for a railway underpass in the village. The rail line passes through Mallaghatta. The villagers had earlier staged a protest, seeking an underpass in the village.

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The SWR had sanctioned a foot-over-bridge and the work had started a few months ago. But it was stalled midway. After they learnt of the trial run on Thursday, over 200 villagers placed boulders on the tracks to draw the attention of the officials.

The Railway police arrested Md.Rafique, Md.Shafi and Md.Iqbal from Hirisave for instigating the villagers in Kannada language to place boulders on the tracks. The arrested were produced in a court which remanded them in judicial custody.

SWR chief engineer S K Jain said in Bengaluru that railway officials were alerted about the placing of boulders, over phone.

“The train was moving at a speed of 90 kmph but we stopped nearly 200 metres away from the spot, thanks to the tip-off,” he said.

Jain said such behaviour is shocking. “When there is a demand, there is a proper channel to communicate it. Instigating villagers to place boulders on tracks is not the way. We told the villagers to make a presentation and we will take it up with the higher authorities,” he said.

Sabotage Attempts – Third incident in 15 days!

MUMBAI: With a seven-foot-long overhead equipment mast found in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday, railway authorities have stepped up patrolling along tracks and are removing broken iron girders. This is the third such incident reported by a loco pilot in the past 15 days. All three incidents have occurred on the Central Railway.

On February 6, a five-foot-long iron girder, weighing around 400 kg, was found on the tracks by the driver of the Pune-Santragachi Express between Kalamboli and Taloja stations. Initially, the driver failed to notice the girder because of the dark and dragged it for few metres. Around 7.15 p.m., he noticed an obstacle in the wheel and immediately stopped the train. The Pune-Santragachi Express starts from Pune and halts at Kalamboli and Panvel before heading to Santragachi in West Bengal.

A senior Central Railway official said, “The train could have been derailed had the girder been placed across the track. A major accident was averted.” The Kalamboli police registered a case under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Railways Act, 1989.

On January 24, the driver of the Madgaon-Dadar Janshatabdi Express spotted a seven-metre-long rail piece on the tracks near Diva station. The railway police are investigating the incident and have questioned almost 150 people, including railway staff.

A day after a five-foot piece of rail was found placed diagonally over the track near Kalamboli station on the Diva-Panvel stretch on Tuesday, another disaster was averted on Wednesday morning after the driver of a freight train applied the brakes after spotting an eight-foot-long iron pole placed diagonally over the track on the Panvel-Uran route, near Dapoli village.

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Panvel city police has registered a case against an unidentified person and an investigation is underway. “The loco pilot pulled the emergency brake and alerted the railway control room,” said an officer of Panvel police station.

According to a railway official, the iron pole was removed from the track and the goods train was allowed to move towards Uran. “The route is used by goods trains to transport containers that are shipped to various countries through JNPT,” said the official.

Prakash Nilewad, Assistant Commissioner of Police of Zone II of Navi Mumbai police said, “This is the second incident within two days. This time again, the loco pilot of a train noticed an obstruction on the track and stopped the train. We have started an investigation.”

This is the second incident that could have been an act of sabotage, after Tuesday’s incident.

The police and other agencies are probing both incidents from different angles.

“Miscreants could be behind both incidents. Both cases should be investigated separately as they may not be linked,” said a senior officer from zone II.

After the arrest of a key suspect, Mohd.Samshul Hoda, from Nepal for his alleged role in recent train accidents in Bihar and Kanpur, railway officials are on the alert. An official said, “We are taking all precautions to avoid such incidents in future. We are also informing all loco pilots and local train drivers to be alert. We are trying to deploy extra staff to ensure more safety and focus more attention on such activities.” Night patrolling has been increased on tracks and in areas with low presence of police and railway staff.

G.C. Agrawal, General Manager, Western Railway, said, “Sometimes some portion of the rail are left behind after work. We have instructed all workers to immediately remove such pieces from the tracks.” Atul Srivastav, Chief Security Commissioner, Central Railway, said, “This is a serious concern and we have given orders to clear the tracks completely after the work to avoid any such untoward incidents.”

In the wake of these incidents, our staff is taking extra care. These discarded pieces were spotted as part of that.” Nilewad added that no arrest has been made in connection with the overhead equipment found lying on the railway tracks between Jasai and Dapoli stations yesterday.

A senior officer in the Mumbai Division of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) said, apart from stepping up patrolling along the tracks, their staff was extending all the support to the probe agencies.

“It would be a bit premature to jump to the conclusion that these are acts of terrorism or sabotage, but all the agencies, including the RPF, are leaving no stone unturned to nab those involved in these cases,” the official said.

Although, no suspected case of sabotage has so far been reported from the Western Railway (WR), its officials say that they are taking all measures to prevent such incidents.

General Manager of WR GC Agrawal said, “So far, such cases have only been reported under CR, but it does not mean that it cannot take place in the WR areas. We have already taken serious cognisance of the cases and have held talks at the railway board level as everyone is concerned about them.” He said the departments concerned have been asked to remove the rail pieces lying along the tracks.

“Usually, we are not supposed to keep small rail pieces around the tracks. So, the departments concerned, including the engineering and stores sections, have been asked to look into the matter,” said Agrawal.

Unusual Activities reported in Train Mishaps: Railway Minister in the Parliament

NEW DELHI: Government today expressed serious concern over “unusual” activites reported in the past few days, alleging that attempts were made to sabotage rail tracks and carry out explosions.

Responding to a series of supplementaries in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said there had been seven “blast attempts” and three cases of attempted sabotage. He said the NIA is already investigating a case related to the derailment of a train near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

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There have been “unsual” activities in the last few days and some incidents were averted due to the alertness of railway personnel, the Minister said during Question Hour.

He said countries including Japan, South Korea and Italy had sent their teams after the recent derailments, “thanks to the diplomatic skills of the Prime Minister.” The Railways was now in the process of putting in place latest technology like ultrasonic track detection system to find out fractures so that early warning can prevent mishaps.

Besides technology, Prabhu said the Railway Protection Force has been asked to evolve a forensic strategy.

In his written reply, the minister said train accidents have declined from 195 in 2006-07 to 135 in 2014-15 and further to 107 in 2015-16.

Number of “consequential” train accidents remained at a level of 95 during 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Accidents per million train kilometres, an important index of safety, has come down from 0.23 in 2006-07 to 0.11 in 2014-15 and further to 0.10 in 2015-16.

Explosion on Rail Track near Buxar triggers Sabotage speculation

DANAPUR: An explosion occurred on the railway track in Bihar’s Buxar district just after Varanasi-Sealdah (Upper) India Express has triggered speculation of sabotage.

Superintendent of Railway Police Jitendra Mishra said the blast occurred at a halt near Buxar station yesterday when the train had crossed the spot and moved barely a few metres.

The incident send security personnel into tizzy as arrest of three persons in East Champaran district in Bihar recently had revealed Pakistan ISI terror plot to target trains in India.

The hands of ISI agent was suspected in the Indore-Patna Express tragedy on November 20 last year which claimed 150 lives.

However, no damage to life or property was reported in the ‘low intensity’ blast that could be caused by crackers, Mishra told.

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Alert Loco Pilot averts another major rail mishap on Diva stretch

Tragedy averted on Panvel-Diva Rail track

MUMBAI: A major disaster was averted on Monday night after the train driver of the Pune-Santragachi Express applied emergency brakes after the train hit part of a five-and-a-half foot discarded piece of rail placed diagonally over the track near Kalamboli station on the Diva-Panvel stretch. Though the train dragged the piece of rail for a few metres, the train and its passengers were unharmed.

Railway officials, along with a railway engineer, rushed to the spot after the driver informed the railway control room. “The engineer removed the piece of rail and allowed the train to continue on its journey,” said a railway official. He added that the train halted for about 45 minutes.

The officials have registered a case against unidentified men with the Kalamboli police under section 336 of the IPC, for endangering life or personal safety of others, and under section 150 (1) (a) of The Railways Act, for maliciously wrecking or attempting to wreck a train. A Navi Mumbai police team, along with railway officials, also visited the site of the mishap.

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Police said the train hit the piece of rail at around 7.16 pm, after crossing Kalamboli station. “The train was running late by about six hours. It departed from Panvel station at about 7.04 pm,” said an officer.

According to a railway official, a disaster was averted as the train was running at a slow speed. “If the train was running at top speed, it could have resulted in a major accident,” said the official. A number of south-bound trains, including the Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains operate along this stretch.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone II) Rajendra Mane said, “We have registered the case and are investigating further. Some locals from nearby area would have tried to sabotage and derail the running trains either in an attempt to support the terrorists or self-made sleeper cell kind of an operation that will create a panic and loss. The area is quite far from the main road and does not have CCTV cameras, and hence could not immediately establish the root cause; however it is clear cut sabotage attempt only,” he said.

Prakash Nilewad, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) of Zone II said, “We are investigating the matter from all angles. Miscreants must have placed the piece of rail on the track after the oncoming train must have thwarted their bid to steal it”. Nilewad, however, did not rule out the possibility of sabotage. “A section of the union has been protesting against the Railways over salary issues. There is a possibility that they could have done it,” said Nilewad.

“Though the incident took place outside the purview of Navi Mumbai police jurisdiction, a case has been registered at Kalamboli police station,” said Nilewad, adding that other agencies like the GRP, RPF, IB and ATS are also probing different angles.

Ravindra Goyal, Divisional Railway Manager of Central Railway said, “We have already taken a number of steps to prevent such incidents in the future, including increased patrolling.”

Sachin Bhalode, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner said: “It is very difficult to monitor the railway track as the piece of rail could have been placed at any time.”

Bomb Blast on Railway Track near Buxar station on Danapur Divison of ECR – No Casualties

Buxar (Bihar): A bomb blast took place on a railway track near Buxar station in Mughalsarai-Patna section in Bihar on Monday. The blast took place at 12.10 pm. However, no damage to property or life was reported. An inquiry has been ordered. Passengers on the 13134 Down Varanasi-Sealdah (Upper India) Express spent some tense moments between Buxar and Baruna on the Patna-Mughalsarai section of East Central Railway (ECR) today after what looked like a blast on the down track.

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The train was stopped for a few minutes. The incident took place at 12.05pm, when the train had barely moved 2km from Buxar railway station towards Baruna in the east, around 100km west of Patna.

Spot where the Bomb blew off near Buxar Railway Station which caused an explosion loud enough to be heard till Golambar in Buxar. However the Railway track remained in tact.

According to an eyewitness, a passenger travelling from Down Upper India train threw the bomb on the tracks, which caused an explosion loud enough to be heard till Golambar in Buxar. However, the railway track remained intact. Railways has ordered an enquiry into the matter.

“PWI/Buxar informed at about 12.10 hrs that a bomb blast occurred between Buxar-Baruna near Down line at about 12.05 PM,” Anil Saxena, Railways Spokesperson said.

He added, “Down movement on the route has been blocked. Up movement will be done by issuing caution order to 12487 ex Buxar. As a result of blast, three express trains 12141, 12402, 14004 have been detained.”

“The passengers did not experience anything unusual, but some railway personnel had raised an alarm on seeing a blast close to the tracks on which the train was moving. They were just 300m from the blast site,” an ECR official said on condition of anonymity.

As the train did not suffer any damage it was stopped for 15 minutes for necessary checks and then allowed to go. A source in the ECR said a passenger told railway personnel he saw an individual hurl something at the tracks triggering the blast. But the Government Railway Police (GRP) at Buxar said no passenger’s statement was recorded.

Railway personnel, senior GRP and Buxar police officials and a forensic science laboratory team reached the spot. “There was no damage to the tracks so train movement was allowed on the down track at 2.15pm,” ECR chief public relations officer Arvind Kumar Rajak told.

Patna rail superintendent of police Jitendra Mishra said: “Forensic experts are saying, prima facie, it appears someone burst a cracker near the track. No splinter was found at the blast site.”

Mishra, under whose jurisdiction the Buxar GRP works, said the forensic team would submit its final report after a thorough probe. Samples were collected from the blast site.

He said an FIR would be lodged under various sections of the Explosives Act on the basis of statements of railway employees working near the tracks. Mishra said he had urged the Buxar SP to intensify patrolling on railway tracks. The GRP has stepped up patrolling on railway tracks in the wake of recent intelligence inputs that terrorists were planning a repeat of the Kanpur-type mishap in Bihar. Over 150 lives were lost when a train derailed near Kanpur in November last.

Inspector-general (railway) Amit Kumar had said railway tracks were on the radar of terror groups. The National Investigation Agency is probing a case in which Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is suspected of involvement to cause damage to railway property. Three suspected operatives who were arrested from East Champaran last month had blamed ISI for the Kanpur accident.

  • “From January 2016 to December 2016, there were at least 45 cases of alleged sabotage with the railway tracks,” Mohammad Jamshed, member, traffic in the Railway Board, told Mail Today. “There were 18 cases of extremist activities while in 13 cases IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were recovered along the railway tracks. There were seven cases of explosion on tracks and three of tampering.”
  • Of theses, at least 40 incidents were reported to be of “extreme” nature, including Maoist activities in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Maharashtra and others. The figures also imply that there was one case of sabotage almost every week in the country.
  • Jamshed, who is supervisory head of the rail operation in India, said in addition to human lives lost, these incidents also caused loss of over seven million tonne of freight orders worth Rs700crore. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is investigating role of Pakistan spy agency ISI in the Indore-Patna express accident in Kanpur that killed 200 people.
  • According to the railway ministry, the explosion took place around 12.15 pm between Buxar and Nadwan station. The train was heading towards Patna from Varanasi. Officials claimed the marks on the track indicated use of some chemical-based explosive. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the Monday incident.
  • A statement from the railway ministry said, “A sound of blast was heard by train driver, guard and the track maintenance staff who were working about 300 meters from the spot. Immediately, train movement was stopped. The spot was checked by the RPF and track maintenance staffs but found no damage to railway track.”
  • Railway officials said there was no harm caused to the train and after thorough inspection, rail traffic was restored.
  • The incident comes at a time when the NIA is probing the role of Pakistan spy agency ISI behind recent train derailments, including the Indore-Patna express accident in Kanpur that killed 200 people. Bihar Police arrested three persons who admitted to having planed IEDs at railway tracks at the behest of foreign handlers. The three accused are currently being interrogated. Following two major accidents in November and December last year near Kanpur, Prabhu had invited experts from Japan and South Korea to review the Indian railway tracks. Finally, Italian railway was assigned the task to audit the passenger safety on Indian Railway.
  • The Korean team has submitted a 32-page detailed technical report to the railway ministry which, sources said, pointed towards the poor condition of tracks being essentially behind the derailments. Sources said the condition of the railway tracks was not fit for movement of trains at high speed.
  • Indian Railways spends over Rs55,000 crore annually on safety. The Narendra Modi government has announced a rail safety fund of rupees one lakh crore over the next five years.
  • India’s extensive rail network runs 12,000 trains a day and the full-length track could circle the globe over one and a half times. More than 23 million passengers travel on it every day on journeys that extend from one end of the country to another.

Railways use Drone Cameras to monitor Safety of Railway Tracks and Stations

Drones have been deployed for patrolling and surveillance in remote and vulnerable areas. Korean experts suggest measures to improve rail safety

BANGALORE: In the light of an attempt made by an insurgent group to place concrete slabs on the railway track between Thoppur and Karuvalli in the Dharmapuri section on December 22, 2016, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has begun conducting surveillance using a drone camera.

Speaking to RailNews, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Railways, Railway Protection Force, Hubballi, D B Kasar said the development was in view of the discovery of slabs deliberately placed on the tracks last month to derail Chalukya Express. “This is being done for the first time in Indian Railways. After that incident, we planned on extra surveillance. We introduced a drone camera on December 25 so that security is tightened before Republic Day,” he said.

Kasar said the drone would record events around the area 24×7 and the images were being monitored by staff in a control room. “The camera can soar up to a height of 25 metres and can keep track up to a distance of 5 km,” he said.

“We have begun it along this stretch on a trial basis. Based on the impact it has, RPF will gradually extend it to other areas,” the DIG added.

Meanwhile, an official release from the South Western Railway said, “Information has been received from sources regarding the activities of terrorists, Maoists and other insurgent groups.”  Special teams have been formed for guarding and patrolling of tracks in vulnerable sections or sabotage-prone areas, the release added. Movement of passengers at Bengaluru, Yeshwantpur and Mysuru railway stations were monitored through CCTV, the release said. In addition, the movement of passengers on platforms, reservation office, and circulating areas in Bengaluru, Yeshwantpur and Mysuru railway stations are being monitored through CCTV surveillance systems round the clock, said the release.

Besides, sniffer dogs have been deployed for checking trains, coaches, platforms, yards, tracks, culverts, and bridges in coordination with the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the local police. Also, RPF officers are supervising the special security arrangements and conducting surprise checks in Bengaluru, Hubballi and Mysuru, and passengers in trains and platforms are being videographed randomly at major railway stations. The strength of train-escorting staff has been increased in certain important routes. Liaison with the railway police and local police has been established for providing security arrangements. The SWR release said track patrol and awareness campaigns have been conducted in various places across South Western Railway.

ATS probes terror angle in Diva rail sabotage

After a motorman of Madgaon-Dadar Jan Shatabdi Express spotted a seven-metre-long piece of railway track placed diagonally over a railway track and stopped the train near Diva station on Tuesday night, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), while suspecting involvement of a terror outfit, have launched an investigation into the incident. The Government Railway Police (GRP) too is probing the matter.

While the GRP has been questioning people in the case, the ATS has started its own parallel investigation to find if it was planned by any terrorist outfit or fringe elements associated with terrorist organisations.

A major disaster was averted around 10.40pm on January 24, two days before Republic Day due to the alertness of the motorman of the train, which was running on the CST-Kalyan fast line carrying around 700 passengers. He spotted the piece about few metres before Diva railway station and immediately alerted to the railway control authorities.

Anti-terrorism agencies have been roped in to probe the alleged role of ISI or any other terrorist organisation in the recent derailments that occurred in North India. Investigators are probing the terror angle particularly because they feel that it cannot be the handiwork of one person, as it would take more than one person to lift the 7-metre railway track that weighed 300kg. They are also looking into the careless attitude of railway authorities who failed to monitor the railway tracks properly despite it being a busy route. “The involvement of an organised group with an intention to execute a major disaster cannot be ruled out,” said an officer.

Deputy commissioner of police Samadhan Pawar (Central Railway) said, “We have been investigating the case from all angels including sabotage and few people have been picked up for questioning who took to take the same route every day that passed through the spot where the metal piece was found.”

Korean rail experts have suggested for a double check system and restricted train speed in case of track circuit failure to ensure safety on the tracks

Korean rail experts have suggested for a double check system and restricted train speed in case of track circuit failure to ensure safety on the tracks.

After a series of mishaps, the Railway Ministry had invited overseas railways, including Korea and Japan, to visit the Indian Railways and suggest measures for safety enhancement.

A Korean delegation comprising of track, signal and safety experts visited India from January 15 to 24 to review the operation and maintenance practices of track and signal system and also rolling stock to suggest improvements, an official said.

Preliminary discussions were held between the delegation and the Railway officials.

The Korean experts visited Rura accident site near Kanpur, where 15 coaches of Sealdah-Ajmer Superfast Express was derailed last month, leaving two dead and 44 persons injured.

The experts also visited a few track sites, control room and relay room in Delhi Division, he said.

After comparing the maintenance practices and operations on Indian Railways, Korean Railways had given a presentation suggesting some improvements in track maintenance practices, signalling system and controlling of overloading in wagons.

They emphasised the need for dedicated track maintenance blocks of minimum three hours to keep the assets in safe condition as is being done in Korea, the official said.

The experts also had detailed discussions with concerned officers of the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) at Lucknow, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

According to the official, the Korean experts stated that in case of failure of track circuiting, principle of safety first should be followed, then reason of failure of track circuiting are found out and the first train is passed on with a restricted speed of 25 kmph.

A track circuit is a simple electrical device used to detect the absence of a train on rail tracks. It is then used to inform signallers and control relevant signals.

The Korean team is expected to submit their reports in 15 days.

NIA finds Merit in Bihar Police probe pointing to ISI-backed Plot to Sabotage Railway Tracks

Shafi Shaikh, Karachi-based don and Shamshul Huda, a native of Nepal, currently settled in Dubai are behind train accidents in India: confirms NIA

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing three cases involving an attempt to blast tracks in East Champaran, the Indore-Patna Express derailment and last week’s Koneru rail accident, has prima facie found to be correct the Bihar police’s line of investigation pointing to an ISI-backed sabotage plot to cause train mishaps in India. The agency feels the ISI angle merits further probe.

Sources in NIA told that the three accused arrested in Motihari, during their recent questioning by NIA sleuths, have repeated their claims of a sabotage angle in both the failed Ghorasahan track blasting attempt as well as the Kanpur derailment. “There are no contradictions whatsoever in what they had told the Bihar police earlier and now our own sleuths. They seem to be very sure of and consistent in their ‘disclosures’. Also, technical evidence points to conversations between the arrested accused on the one hand and Nepalese handler Brij Kishore Giri, Dubai-based mastermind Shamsul Huda and Karachi-based suspected ISI agent Shafi Shaikh on the other, lending credence to the ISI involvement theory,” said a home ministry officer.

Sources following the investigation told that Umashankar Patel, one of the three accused arrested by Bihar police, had spoken to both Huda and Shaikh while they were together in Dubai in August, after being put in touch with them by Giri. “They discussed conspiracy to cause train accidents in India by planting IEDs on the tracks. The discussion was general in nature and did not raise any specific mention of the impending sabotage plans for Ghorasahan or Kanpur,” said an officer.

“That they were in direct touch with Huda as well as an alleged Karachi-based kingpin having links with ISI, has led NIA to strongly suspect an ISI angle to the alleged sabotage involving passenger trains in India,” the officer said.

With the probe into Ghorasahan sabotage attempt as well as the Kanpur train derailment now formally with NIA, its teams will be seeking custody of the accused, Patel, Motilal Paswan and Mukesh Yadav as well others arrested in Delhi, for exhaustive questioning as well as recreation of the events leading to the said incidents. This will involve taking the accused to the Kanpur derailment site and establishing the sequence of events leading to planting of the alleged pressure cooker bomb, corroborating their journey details, establishing any money trail of payments for execution of the conspiracy and digging out technical evidence, including their mobile network details, to prove their presence at the derailment site before the incident.

Though an NIA team has already inspected the site of the latest train accident at Koneru in Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh, it is yet to submit its report on the findings. “We are not risking a guess on a likely sabotage angle. Let us wait for the initial report,” said a home ministry officer.

NIA, as part of its Ghorasahan as well as Kanpur derailment probe, will seek access to the accused arrested by the Nepal police, including handler Brij Kishore Giri, for questioning. The agency may need to initiate proceedings for their extradition to face interrogation and trial in India. “This might be a time-consuming process,” said an officer.

NIA also plans to seek custody of Shamsul Huda and Karachi-based ISI link Shafi Shaikh during the course of its investigation.

Railways escape Four more mishaps at Malda, Dhanbad, Mumbai and Hajipur Divisions

Sabotage attempts on tracks to derail trains continue to plague the Indian Railways with detection of four more such cases in just two days causing serious concern for safety of rail operation. On the eve of India’s Republic Day, four Train mishaps were averted near (1) Diva in Mumbai Division; (2) between Koderma-Maheshpur in Dhanbad Division, 3) between Bariarpur-Ratanour in Malda Division and (4) Near Hajipur in Bihar.

New Delhi: Sabotage attempts on tracks to derail trains continue to plague the Railways with detection of three more such cases today causing serious concern for safety of rail operation and narrow escape of major accidents.

Cases of man-made obstructions were discovered at Malda and Dhanbad divisions by alert railway staff in time, thereby averting major derailments, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

According to the official, the loco pilot of a passenger train detected fish plates missing between Koderma and Maheshpur under Nawalshahi police station and stopped the train averting accident at Dhanbad division.

Rail traffic was stopped for three hours and an FIR has been lodged in the matter.

In the second incident, fittings were found missing on the track between Bariarpur and Ratanour in Malda division.

After the detection, train movement was stopped and it was resumed only after the replacement of fittings, he said adding an FIR has also been lodged in the matter.

In another incident, a major mishap was averted on January 24 after an alert Jan Shatabdi Express loco pilot stopped the train spotting a 15-feet rail piece on the track near Diwa in Mumbai. Central railway authorities suspect that it is a case of sabotage. General Manager D.K Sharma confirmed such a possibility and said a probe has been ordered

On January 23, another possible train accident was averted at Hajipur in Bihar due to an alert patrolling team of the Railways. Two stone slabs that were placed on the track were detected in time and removed. Attempt to sabotage railway tracks averted but goons escaped – the incident came to light when two patrolmen came across two long stone slabs, measuring one meter each, on the UP line track. When they tried to remove the slabs they were set upon by the goons who had placed them on the railway track.

Any laxity on part of Railway staff would have led to major accident due to sabotage on railway track. However the same was averted at 00:20 am of 24 Jan while two patrolmen were carrying out patrolling of railway track between Dalsighsarai and Sathajagat in Samastipur district. It was during the patrolling that they found two long stone slabs, measuring one meter each, on the UP line track on minor bridge number 20 between the two station.  The Railway patrolmen identifying the stone slabs were trying to remove the stone slabs when around 3 to 4 people, who were hiding in the nearby bushes, came out and started abusing them. When the goons started assaulting them, both the patrolmen fled from the spot and informed the nearby RPF post, GRP and local police.

Soon they returned to the spot with engineering staffs, RPF, GRP and local police at 01:22 am and the stone slabs were removed by 01:44 am. During this time period, movement of 13420 Muzaffarpur-Bhagalpur Intercity was disrupted. The goons who were involved in the incident managed to escape.

Loco drivers of Jan Shatabdi Express noticed a lengthy iron rail lying horizontally on tracks near Diva Railway station

Central intelligence agencies have been roped in to investigate the incident in which a long piece of rail was found lying on the tracks between Diva and Mumbra railway stations. A major tragedy was averted on Tuesday (January 24) when drivers  of an express train applied emergency brakes after noticing a rail piece lying horizontally on the tracks.

“Railway employees saved so many lives due to their alertness and now it is in the hands of the investigating agencies to find out who was behind this. We are hoping that it will be found out soon,” Central Railway General Manager DK Shama said.

In the last 24 hours many people who live and work in the area have been questioned though investigators did not confirm if they have any leads as of now.  The area where the incident took place is uninhabited and the nearest habited village Agasan is over a kilometre away.

“GRP and RPF teams have been questioning people around the area to get more information. We have also informed central intelligence agencies and I am co-ordinating with all teams to see if we can get anything substantial on this,”Atul Shrivastav, Chief Security Commissioner, Central Railway, said.

“Investigations are being done keeping all possible angles in consideration, it could be sabotage or mischief. Whatever it is, it can be found out only when the perpetrators are caught. We are hoping we will get some lead soon,” added GRP Commissioner Niket Kaushik.


12052 Jan Shatabdi Express started from Madgaon on Tuesday at 2.30 pm and was to reach Mumbai at around 11pm.

Just when the train was approaching Diva station loco pilot Harendra Kumar, who was at the command, spotted a long rail piece lying on the tracks. He applied emergency brakes averting a major accident saving lives of nearly 700 passengers. Kumar and his colleagues were later rewarded for their alertness.

Alarmed by these incidents, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has already sought a NIA probe into the recent spate of derailments suspecting sabotage.

Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed has also cited 45 such cases involving outside interference on the track affecting train movement and causing loss of lives and revenue.

Taking note of the spurt in derailments Chairman Railway Board AK Mital had said on Monday “There is a substantial increase in the derailment case this year as compared against the same period last year and it is a serious concern for us.”

Thirty-nine people were killed after nine coaches of the Hirakhand Express derailed near Kuneru station in Andhra Pradesh on January 21.

In November 20 last year, 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express had derailed near Kanpur killing 151 people followed by the derailment of the Sealdah-Ajmer Express on December 28 near Rura station that left more than 50 passengers injured.

While this saga continues, South Eastern Railway formed a 4-Member Enquiry Team to probe into the detachment of Anand Vihar-Bhubaneswar Weekly Superfast Express’ engine from its bogies in Rourkela. 

According to reports, the team, comprising four officials of Chakradharpur Railway Division, has been formed by the South Eastern Railways to investigate into the incident.

Notably, Railway officials initial probe hinted that the engine of the train accidentally got separated from the bogies and went ahead for about 2 kms near Birajapalli, 10-15 minutes after the super fast express left Rourkela Railway Station on January 24. The engine was later drove back and linked with the bogies after the train driver realised about the detachment. However, ECoR officials said that the engine might got separated due to faulty connection of the engine with the bogies.

Former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi talks about sabotage angle in Andhra tratin tragedy.

In an interview to news media, former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi talks about the sabotage angle in train accidents in the country. Speaking on the allegation of ‘sabotage’ levelled by Bihar Police and other investigation agencies against Pakistan’s ISI, Trivedi told, I am not very sure whether we should jump into any kind of conclusion without any proper investigation. I trust the capabilities of Indian Railways, Police and NIA, he added.

Member-Traffic suspects Sabotage behind recent Train Derailments

Suresh Prabhu asks Rajnath Singh for NIA probe into recent train accidents

NEW DELHI: A day after Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu wrote to Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking National Investigation Agency (NIA) probes into the recent train derailments, Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohammed Jamshed said on Wednesday 45 derailments in the current fiscal could have been “sabotage” cases. Jamshed while admitting that the incidents of derailments have increased in the financial year of 2016-2017 as compared to last year, further stated that “there has been a marked increase in derailments in recent weeks and the sabotage angle cannot be ruled out. Fish plates on tracks have been found to be removed and large pieces of rail have been placed at certain locations”, Jamshed said.

The Railways has suffered an estimated loss of Rs 900 crore in freight and passenger revenues on account of factors such as derailments, public agitation (on tracks), or postponements/cancellations because of foggy weather, Jamshed said.

He also said that safety campaigns and extensive monitoring is being done to avoid any further tragedies and intensive inspections have also been launched. He also added that inputs from teams Japanese and Korean teams are being taken.

In his letter of January 23, the Railway Minister had listed six incidents of “possible criminal interference by outsiders”, mentioning the Hirakhand Express derailment in Andhra Pradesh and the incident involving the Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur.

In a post on the micro-blogging site Twitter, Prabhu has “requested all to be extra vigilant to foil nefarious designs of these anti-people elements trying to subvert system”. He has also directed Railway Security personnel to be careful and sought cooperation of the public to give information of any unusual activities by anti-national elements near stations to law enforcement agencies.

Concerned by recent cases of train derailments, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu wrote to Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking an NIA probe into the alleged possibilities of rail track sabotage by “outsiders”, officials said on Wednesday.

According to a railway ministry official, Prabhu wrote to Singh on Tuesday requesting him to order a detailed probe by National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the recent cases of train accidents.

An other senior railway official requesting anonymity told that Prabhu “listed six recent incidents hinting of possibility of the criminal interference by some outsiders”.  The official also further stated that “Rail network in the Sub-continent region comprises of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh which belongs to the same age.  However accidents are more frequent only in India than that Pakistan and Bangladesh.  This clearly states something fishy in the entire sequences; so how can one ascribed the such a ghastly accidents to ageing of Railway tracks or neglect of Railway employees? reiterating all accidents to sabotage angle by the anti-national elements.

The official further said, the Railway Minister also mentioned the recent Hirakhand Express which derailed near Kuneru station in Andhra Pradesh, in which at least 41 persons died and over 60 injured on January 22.

Detection of a pressure neatly sealed pressure cooker bomb on the railway track at the outer signal of Ghorasahan railway station on Raxaul- Darbhanga section

“The minister mentioned about the two goods train derailment earlier this month, instance of a cooker bomb at Ghorasahan station, detection of deep cuts on tracks near Kanpur on January 1 and the obstruction on tracks on a rail bridge between Sathajagat and Dalsinghsarai railway stations near Samastipur in Bihar,” the official added.

In the last four months, three major train accidents occurred due to derailment.

On November 20, 2016, at least 149 people were killed and over 300 injured when 14 coaches of the Patna-Indore derailed near Pukhrayan, 50 km from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

In another incident, on December 28, at least two people were killed when the 15 coaches of the Sealdah-Ajmer express derailed near Rura station in Kanpur.

The senior official also highlighted concerted efforts being made by railways to make train operations more safe. “Gangmen and RPF personnel are now jointly carrying out night patrolling. Railway officials are asked to be present in each train to examine and ensure safety of passengers and train movement,” he said, adding that a month-long safety drive was also launched from January 15.

Dawood link in Kanpur Train tragedy noticed

NEW DELHI: For the past three days, intelligence agencies and Delhi Police’s Special Cell are trying to find a Delhi link to the Kanpur railway accident that killed 150 people in November 2016.

Three men — Zia-ul-Haq, Shoaib and Zubair — are being grilled at the cell’s headquarters at Lodhi Colony in south Delhi for the train accident that was supposedly orchestrated by Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, sources told. The detained trio live in Jama Masjid area and work with travel agencies.

Police suspect that two of the men were involved in a conspiracy to blow up the railway tracks and cause mass casualties. They may be arrested late on Thursday.

Two handlers of the accused men have also been identified as Shamshul Hoda, who is based in Dubai, and Brij Kishore Giri, a gangster from Nepal. Hoda deals in fake currency and visas and has links with D Company and ISI. Incidentally, Haq, who was detained at Delhi, is Hoda’s nephew and works as a visa agent.

The agencies had acted on the interrogation report of three criminals — Umashankar Patel, Motilal Paswan and Mukesh Yadav — who were arrested in Motihari, Bihar on charges of killing a man Deepak and his uncle, Anil Ram.

Deepak and Anil Ram had placed a cooker bomb on the railway tracks in Ghorasahan of east Chamaparan, Bihar. The operation had failed as the bomb was detected by villagers and defused. This led to their handlers suspecting that the duo had betrayed them. The three men arrested by Motihari police were sent by Giri to kill them.

Paswan was the one who had made the explosive claim of being involved in the Kanpur accident. He said they were in touch with Hoda and Giri for funds and infrastructure to carry out the attack. They also confessed to having chopped off Deepak and Anil Ram’s head and sending photographs to Giri and Hoda as proof.

Giri, who received funds from Hoda, had allegedly given Rs 3 lakh to Patel, Paswan and Yadav for the task and promised flats, vehicles and help in producing a Bhojpuri movie. Giri and his two aides, Shambhu and Mujahir Ansari, was later arrested by Nepal Police after an encounter. Giri is in a critical condition as he was shot at least four times in the face-off.

No involvement of Maoists in Train Derailment: Odisha DGP

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Police today ruled out involvement of Maoists in the derailment of the Hirakhand Express in which the railways are suspecting sabotage.

“There is no indication of Maoist hand behind the derailment of the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express,” Odisha DGP K B Singh told reporters after attending a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here.

His remarks come in the backdrop of Railway sources suspecting tampering of the track as the area is known to be a Naxal-prone zone.

A senior officer engaged in anti-Maoist operation rejected the possibility of Naxal involvement in the accident.

“We totally reject any possibility of Maoist involvement in the derailment. Kuneru is not a Naxal-hit area,” the officer of the intelligence wing told PTI.

The derailment took place at around 11 PM yesterday near Kuneru station in when the train was on its way to Bhubaneswar from Jagdalpur.

“There is no movement of red rebels near the accident site for the last five years. We are even planning to shift the force from the area as there is no report of Naxal movement since a long time,” the officer said.

Had Maoists been involved, they could have done it close to Parvathipuram area, he said and asked why should they come to a place where they have no base?

He said, “Yes, the place was Naxal hit about five years ago. But, now the area is totally free of such elements.”

The Railway Safety Commissioner under the Civil Aviation Ministry would probe the derailment, Anil Saxena, ADG, PR, Railways, said.

Stringent Action against Guilty in Hirakhand Express Mishap: Suresh Prabhu

Bhubaneswar: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said “stringent action” will be taken against those found responsible for the derailment of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express today which has killed at least 39 people.

“The cause of the accident will be probed. It is an unfortunate incident. Stringent action will be taken against those found responsible,” Prabhu told reporters after meeting the injured passengers from the train at Rayagada district headquarters hospital.

“Those responsible for the derailment will not be spared. Stringent action will be taken against those who played with the lives of so many people,” he said.

Prabhu, who was accompanied by Railway Board chairman A K Mittal and other senior officials, also visited the accident site near Kuneru railway station in Andhra Pradesh bodering Odisha.

Senior Railway officials said efforts are on to clear and restore the affected tracks at the earliest to ensure normal traffic on the route.

“Men and machinery are working on a war footing to remove the derailed bogies and set the track fit. Normal train services are likely to be resumed on the route by early tomorrow morning,” they said.

Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Secretary A P Padhi along with DGP K B Singh and Health Secretary P K Meherda met the injured passengers admitted at Rayagada government hospital.

While 19 seriously injured passengers are under treatment at Rayagada, 13 others have suffered minor injury. Twelve passengers have been rushed to a hospital in Parvathipuram, while nine seriously injured ones have been admitted at the Vishakhapatanam hospital.

“The state government has provided all support to the Railways in the rescue operation. The Railways has its own procedure for investigation into such type of accidents. It is a sad incident where 39 people have died and over 100 others were injured,” Padhi said.

Most of the bodies have been identified and handed over to their families, he said adding Odisha government is committed to ensure proper treatment for injured passengers.

Derailments rise but Safety Reports gather Dust

Parliamentary panel pulls up Railways for lack of urgency on track renewal, safety measures

New Delhi: The Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) is yet to submit the preliminary finding report of the Patna-bound Indore-Rajendranagar Express derailment that took place two months back in November in which at least 146 people lost their lives.

A Railway Ministry official said the CRS, under administrative control of the Civil Aviation Ministry, hasn’t submitted its report yet as the sabotage angle is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The delay in submitting the report assumes significance as yet another derailment on Saturday of the Hirakhand Express in Andhra Pradesh has claimed the lives of 39 persons with over 50 injured.

No action yet

The Railways was recently rapped by a Parliamentary panel for failing to establish the causes behind rising derailment cases this year.

According to a Railway Board official, there were 68 derailments till December 2016, compared to 65 in the previous year — a six-year high. Derailments happen due to fault in either railway tracks or the rolling stock.

The Standing Committee on Railways in its recent ‘Safety and Security in Railways’ report said the Railways has failed in maintaining safety standards of the rail tracks. “…track forms the backbone of the rail transportation system and therefore, needs to be maintained in a safe and fit condition. However, in the instant case there seems to be total failure in regard to maintaining the safety standards of their tracks,” the Standing Committee had said in its report tabled in Lok Sabha on December 14.

It said that ideally 4,500 kilometres of the rail tracks should have been renewed annually out of the total track length of 1,14,907 kms. However, out of 5,000 km track length due for renewal at present, only 2,700 km track was targeted to be renewed by the Railways.

Human error unchecked

The Standing Committee also criticised the Railways for failing to address the human error involved in rail accidents. Around 70 % of the rail accidents in 2015-16 occurred due to the fault of railway staff such as poor maintenance, non-adherence to safety rules and adopting short-cuts, according to official reports.

“Looking at the huge number of rail accidents due to lapse of the railway staff, the Committee derive that the (Railway) Ministry have failed to assess the root cause of continuous and possibly repeated lapses by railway staff and therefore have failed completely to curb such accidents,” the Committee said.

Ranikhet Express derailment: ISI’s role under Scanner

JAISALMER: 10 coaches of Ranikhet Express derailed near Thayat Hamira railway station, 16 km from Jaisalmer. Railway chief safety officer and expert engineers have started an investigation into the incident.

The involvement of ISI in the accident is being investigated, as it has been witnessed that the three ghastly train accidents near Kanpur involving deaths of more than 160 passengers within just 45 days span is due to the involvement of ISI and Pakistani agencies to derail the process of nation in all the possible ways. It is to be mentioned that a large number of ISI sleepers and agents are present not only Jaisalmer but across the country now, and their role cannot be ruled out that easily.

Meanwhile, the incident has cut off Jaisalmer from the rest of the country. Railway has cancelled around a dozen trains coming from Bikaner, Jodhpur, Delhi and Jaipur to Jaisalmer. Work is on at war-footing to repair the tracks. By Sunday, the the traffic is expected to normalise.

Arrival of Palace on Wheels in Jaisalmer on Sunday is also doubtful. Ranikhet Express that went from Jaisalmer to Kath Godam on Friday at 11.15pm got derailed between Jaisalmer and Thayat Hamira station. All passengers are safe. On getting information, administration, police and rail way officers reached the spot.

BSF DIG Amit Lodha, who was also travelling in the train, said that around 11.15 pm on Friday near Hamira village, the train stopped suddenly and there was sand inside the train. Passengers got down the train and found that it had derailed. Due to sand, any major accident was averted as the train after derailing got buried in sand and did not overturn.

On getting information, district collector Matadeen Sharma, SP Gaurav Yadav and others reached the spot.

Officers faced a lot of problem in reaching the spot as there is no road leading to the spot. Officers took care of the passengers and made arrangements to send them back to Jaisalmer through cars and jeeps.Ambulances were also pressed into service.

Guard Kewal Chand said that the train was moving approximately at a speed at 100 kmph. When it began jolting, the driver realised that there was some problem and applied emergency brakes. As a result, 10 coaches of the 24-coach train got derailed.

Jodhpur division spokesperson Gopal Sharma said the work to repair the tracks was going on at war-footing.The relief accidental train rea ched at 9am on Saturday and started removing the coaches by crane.

He said at present Jaisalmer is cut off from rail connectivity. Around one dozen trains to Jaisalmer have been cancelled and traffic is expected to resume by Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Jodhpur Divisional Railway Manager Rahul Goyal has ordered an investigation into the accident. Officers have reached the spot and a videography of the spot is being done, especially the tracks which broke into pieces. He said that the role ISI cannot be ruled out. Possibility of the track breaking due to cold is also there. We are investigating the incident from all angles.

Security forces on high alert

According to a tweet from the ministry of railways, the ministry has directed to investigate the case from all angles in view of the recent subversive activities. Railway security forces have been kept on high alert. Citizens are also requested to report any suspicious activity.

At least 40 killed, dozens injured after train derails near Kuneru in Visakhapatanam Division of ECOR

Officials Say at Least 40 Killed, and over 50 injured after Train derails on the East Coast India. Sabotage angle not ruled out..

Kuneru (KNRT), Visakhapatnam Division/ECOR: Two general coaches and four sleeper bogies of Bhubaneswar-bound Train No.18448 Jagadalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed at Kuneru railway station between Rayagada-Vizianagram section of Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (about 30 km from Rayagada) in the Vizianagaram district on Saturday midnight. According to reports, at least 40 persons are feared dead and over 50 are injured as the train jumped the rails. Meanwhile, special relief van and medical teams have rushed to the spot to take up relief operations. Senior railway officials led by Divisional Railway Manager Chandralekha Mukherjee, left for the spot immediately to supervise the relief operations.

Chief Public Relations Officer of East Cost Railway JP Mishra said the incident took place around 11 PM when the train was going to Bhubaneswar. He said, four accident relief vans have been sent to the accident site. He said, the reason behind the incident is yet to be ascertained. Meanwhile, Railway Ministry sources have told that the element of sabotage has not been ruled out yet.

The number of casualties are likely to go up as the train was running at high speed while crossing Kuneru station where it had no stoppage. The injured have been shifted to hospitals at Parbatipuram and Rayagada. A team of doctors have reached the accident site. Vijayanagaram and Rayagada District Administration are taking active part in rescue operations. Several trains on Vijayanagaram and Rayagada routes have been diverted.

These are Rayagada 06856-223400, 06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071 and 07681878777. Help line nos at Vizianagaram are 08922-221202 and 08922-221206.

Indian Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena on Sunday said, that any unusual activity or tampering with the railway tracks leading to the derailment of the Hirakhand Express, will be investigated, and also informed that a unit of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been sent on the spot for rescue operation.

“Total 54 people have been injured, those with minor injuries have been sent after first aid. Efforts are on for rescue. One unit of National Disaster Response Force has reached the spot. The Up and down line between Vijayanagaram-Singhpur has been affected. The cause will be investigated from all angles. If there was any unusual activity, or tampering with track, it will be probed. Commissioner Railway Safety (Civil Aviation Ministry) will enquire into Hirakhand Express derailment and he will inspect site,” Saxena told.

Saxena further said their main aim is to make the people reach their destinations, adding that the unaffected portion of the train has been taken to Raigoda, from where it has been diverted to Bhubaneswar.

“Water containers, biscuits and teas are being supplied to the people. They can also talk to their families through phones which are made them available,” he added.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announces profound grief; announces Rs 2 lakh for kin of deceased towards immediate relief

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday while expressing deep shock and grief, announced rupees two lakh as compensation for the kin of deceased in the horrific Hirakhand express derailment in Andhra Pradesh last night, which claimed the lives of 40 people.

He also announced 25,000 rupees for the injured and 50,000 rupees for the seriously injured. At least 40 people were killed and more than 50 injured when coaches of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed near Kuneru station in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh last night.

Prabhu, along with Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal, is rushing to the derailment site in Andhra.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is personally monitoring situation. He has directed senior officials to reach site and ensure prompt rescue and relief operations. Railway has issued helpline numbers.

Meanwhile, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik expresses grief over the tragic death Of 30 Passengers.

Commissioner, Railway Safety Of Civil Aviation Ministry To Probe Into Hirakhand Express Derailment, Says Anil Saxena, ADG, PR, Railway

Train Cancelled /  Diverted Due to Derailment of Hirakhand Express

Meanwhile, South Central Railway announced cancellation/route-diversion of certain trains in view of the derailment of Train No. 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express at Kuneru between Rayagada-Vizianagram section of Waltair Division, East Coast Railway, the following more train is cancelled / diverted as detailed below:-

Trains Cancelled/Partially Cancelled on 22nd January, 2017

  • Train No.18518 Visakhapatnam- Korba Express Scheduled to depart Visakhapatnam On01.17 is Cancelled.
  • Train No. 18309 Sambalpur-H.S.Nanded Nagavali Express scheduled to depart Sambalpur on 22nd January, 2017 is cancelled.
  • Train No. 12651 Madurai-H.Nizamuddin Tamilnadu Sampartk Kranti Express scheduled to depart Madurai on 22nd January, 2017 is cancelled.
  • Train No. 17615 Kacheguda-Madurai Weekly Express departed Kacheguda on 21st January, 2017 will be short terminated at Dindigul station.
  • Train No. 57271 Vijayawada – Rayagada Passenger departed Vijayawada on 21st January, 2017 will be short terminated at Visakhapatnam station.

Train Diverted

  • Train No. 13352 Alleppey-Dhanbad scheduled which left Alleppey on 21.01.17 is diverted to run via Vizianagaram, Palasa, Angul, Sambalpur.
  • Train No. 18310 H.S.Nanded-Sambalpur Nagavali Express departed H.S.Nanded on 21st January, 2017 is diverted via Khurda Road and Angul stations.
  • Train No. 12375 Chennai Central – Asansol Superfast Express departed Chennai Central on 21st January, 2017 is diverted via Khurda Road, Angul and Jharsuguda stations.
  • Train No. 18637 Hatia-Yesvantpur Express departed Hatia on 21st January, 2017 is diverted via Titlagarh, Raipur, Nagpur and Balharshah stations.
  • Train No. 13351 Dhanbad-Alappuzha Express departed Dhanbad on 21st January, 2017 is diverted via Titlagarh, Raipur, Nagpur and Balharshah stations.

‘Lucky enough to be alive’: Train survivors recall brush with death

Survivors of the Hirakhand Express mishap on Sunday recounted their horrific experience when the trains nine bogies and the engine jumped off the track near Kuneru in Andhra Pradesh.

“It was horrific and frightening. I was among the lucky ones to have escaped narrowly after the mishap that struck late last night,” said Ranjan Mohanty, a Baripada college

Mohanty, who was returning in the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express train after attending the wedding ceremony of a relative, said he was sleeping and woke up with a sudden jerk and deafening sound to find himself on the floor.

While the derailment claimed at least 39 lives, the passengers, Mohanty said, travelling in his coach escaped with minor injuries and fractures.

However, the adjacent S-9 coach was perhaps one of the worst affected, Mohanty said, adding he was among the survivors who were sent by a special train to Bhubaneswar via Sambalpur from where he would proceed to Baripada.

Similar was the experience of Prakash Sahu, a youth who failed to figure out as to what exactly had happened when a loud bang woke him up from deep sleep and he was flung from the berth.

Sahu said he along with some fellow passengers managed to move out of the coach with much difficulty and to comprehend what had happened.

“We are lucky enough to be alive though our belongings, mobile phones and other articles were lost,” he said.

For little girl Sai Suchitra, who suffered injuries and was taken to Rayagada hospital, it was a nightmare.

Suchitra said she was travelling with her mother and other family members when the train derailed. She was extremely worried about her mother and others as there was no information available about them immediately.

Bhagban Majhi, a youth who left with a fractured limb after the mishap, said it was pitch dark and he could only hear screams of injured passengers and wailing relatives who lost their dear ones.

It took some time for the rescue teams to reach the mishap site.

Another youth who travelled by the special train to Bhubaneswar via Sambalpur after the derailment said there was panic among the passengers and the whole area was filled with cries of accident victims.

“After we moved out of our coach, we could see the devastating effect of the derailment. Bodies could be seen in the severely mangled coaches,” he said, adding that passengers of unaffected bogies also tried to help those trapped in derailed coaches but darkness was a major hurdle before rescue teams arrived at the scene.

Among the survivors was a couple travelling to Bhubaneswar from Bhawanipatna to attend a marriage function.

Sanjay and his wife Jhili were about to sleep after dinner when there was loud sound and the bogie jolted violently and luggage of passengers fell scattered all around.

Those unhurt in the mishap made efforts to pull out the children and women, said Sanjay.

Railways deploy special buses for stranded passengers

With train movement paralysed between Rayagada and Vizianagaram, the Railways on Sunday deployed 13 special buses to transport stranded passengers to places such as Brahmapur and Bhawanipatna of Odisha, a railway spokesman said.

One passenger special train with 13 coaches carrying the stranded passengers of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarah Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express was run from Kuneru to Bhubaneswar via Rayagada-Titilagarh-Sambalpur-Angul.

The spokesman told The Hindu that nearly 600 passengers were shifted in the special passenger train and special buses.

Following the derailment of the train, the East Coast Railway announced cancellation of seven trains. Seven more trains were short terminated and 10 diverted.

NIA asks Home Ministry to transfer Kanpur train tragedy case

NIA to probe recovery of IED near railway track in Bihar’s Ghosaran. Man claims knowledge of Republic Day plot to sabotage Indian Railways tracks

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) demanding that the case surrounding the Kanpur train tragedy be handed over to it for further probe.

The Delhi Police had earlier this month picked up two people from Bihar in connection with the train derailment, which took place in Kanpur on November 21 last year. The Bihar Police has claimed that derailment was planned and funded by anti-India elements based in Dubai.

So far, three have been arrested for planting a bomb on railway tracks in the state on October 1, 2016.

The Home Ministry had on Wednesday sent a two-member NIA team to Motihari for investigation into the Bihar Police’s claims that the derailment of Indore-Patna Express was carried out at by a Nepal gang that has links with Pakistani intelligence agency ISI.

The claims were reportedly based on disclosures by three arrested men.

Investigative agencies are also currently interrogating a man who claims to have been trained to sabotage railway tracks with the aim of causing train accidents on January 26.  A man who is currently being interrogated by several investigative agencies, claims to have knowledge of plans to sabotage railway tracks between Patna and Allahabad with the goal of causing train accidents. The informant, a resident of Jonpur in Uttar Pradesh, claims he was trained and promised money to carry out the sabotage.

  1. A man named Suresh, whose surname the informant does not know, trained the informant and his friends, Sujit and Shankar, in taking out keys and joints from railway tracks. This would cause the tracks to break and lead to accidents when trains passed over the sabotaged sections.
  2. Suresh was to pay the trio Rs 70,000 to 80,000 each for doing this work.
  3. Tempted by the offer of hard cash, the informant underwent the training in Varanasi where he says he met two men named Vinod and Santosh.
  4. Vinod and Santosh had carried out a similar operation of damaging the railway tracks near the Kanpur railway station for which Suresh had paid them 70,000 rupees. (Editor’s note: It’s not yet clear if this claim is related to the November 20 Patna derailment that claimed over 140 lives.)
  5. The informant ran away after two days of training and after realizing the dangerous extent of Suresh’s plans.


From Varanasi, the information came to Mumbai where he narrated his tale to the station master at the Dadar railway station. The official, the informant says, only made a note of the his claims and informed counterparts in Varanasi. It’s not known what happened of this communication.

The informant then went to Mumbai’s Kurla area in search of job. Once there, he informed a local BJP worker and railway passenger activist Subhash Gupta about Suresh’s plans. It was Gupta who took the informant to the Railway Protection Force. The RPF recorded the informant’s statement, following which several other agencies joined the probe.

“We have written to the home ministry seeking transfer of probe into the Ghorasahan incident. We will look into all claims made by the accused,” said NIA official in their annual briefing.

The Nepal police is also helping the Indian agencies in the probe as three more associates of the arrested trio have been nabbed there in a twin murder case.

Kanpur Train Tragedy is a Terror Plot: clarifies Bihar Police

PATNA: ISI plotted big attacks on vulnerable Indian Railways. Bihar police zero in on Pakistan’s ISI hand behind Kanpur train tragedy to target railways and cause huge damage and loss of lives. The investigation revealed that the suspects have the support from ISI with financial backing from a Dubai-based businessman.

The railways have been a target of terror groups several times in the past. A recent investigation conducted by the Bihar Police and Interpol now got a thorough clue that the accident was a sabotage that was a plan to blow up a train in East Champaran or cause derailment of a speeding train by damaging the tracks.

Bihar police on Tuesday claimed to have unearthed a suspected ISI link to target the railways with arrest of three persons in East Champaran district of the state. The report emerged after the arrest of three persons suspected of planting an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on a railway track near Ghorasahan railway station+ in October last year.

Police claimed the trio had confessed to having worked for a Nepalese contact suspected to be connected to Pakistan’s ISI to target the railways. The bomb was defused after alert villagers spotted it and called the cops in.

This investigation is very crucial as it could give more clues to investigators probing into mystery train accidents. There have been over 11 train accidents in 2016. While the cause of the accident has been ascertained in most cases, the one at Kanpur in November 2016 in which 150 lost their lives continues to be a mystery. We do not want to add a conspiracy theory to the accident, but since a terror link is identified in the wake of the revelations made by the Delhi police, the investigation had a clue now; an official associated with the Railways informed.

During interrogation, police claimed that “the accused were given Rs 3 lakh by a Nepali citizen allegedly connected with the ISI for planting a bomb to blow the railway track at Ghorasahan in East Champaran district in October 1 last year to cause an accident. A probe is currently underway to find their links with the Kanpur train accident,” SP Jitendra Rana told.

The police also claimed that they will interrogate the trio to ascertain if the gang had any role in train accidents in Kanpur that claimed the lives of at least 140 people and injured many others, on November 20, 2016.

While the three accused were arrested from East Champaran district, three others have been nabbed at Tailaya in Nepal for targeting railways on behalf of suspected terror elements in this country, Rana added. Security agencies have been informed about the confession made by the three men, who are “professional criminals” allegedly involved in more than a dozen criminal cases.

They’re being further interrogated for more details to determine if the they had any role in train accidents in Kanpur and elsewhere. At least 150 people were killed and over 100 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district in November 2016.

Initial reports overlooked terror angle and investigated rail fracture due to expansion of the track in summer and contraction in winter as the likely cause of the mishap which now proved to be wrong.

Rana said the anti-terrorism squad and other security agencies have been informed about the confession made by the three men who are being interrogated for more details to ascertain if the gang had any role in train accidents in Kanpur and elsewhere. 150 people were killed in the derailment of Indore-Patna Express at Kanpur Dehat in November last year.

East Champaran is a district bordering Nepal and Indian Mujahideen chief Yasin Bhatkal was arrested from Raxaul in the district in August 2013.

Railways vulnerable to terror:

In this context, one must go back to the 2006 Mumbai train bombings. 180 people died in that deadly blast which ripped through the trains in Mumbai in a span of 11 minutes. While this was the biggest terror attack on the Indian railways, there have been several other incidents on a smaller scale. In 2016, there was a mystery bomber who sought to send out a message to the security establishment. The Panipat-Ambala passenger train was attacked twice in 2016. While the first incident occurred in January, the second one was in May. In both incidents a low intensity bomb was planted in one of the bogeys. The blast was a minor one, but it went on to reveal how poor the security was in the Indian railways.

Terror groups would look to target the railways for a variety of reasons. First, the railway stations are crowded and this makes the impact extremely high. Second, the security is very low and this makes the railways a potential target. In the past as well, the naxalites have meddled with the railway tracks to cause train accident. It is practically impossible to man the entire railway line which spreads of several lakhs of kilometres. The Chennai train blast of 2014 is also a classic example of how lax security is. The members of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India had boarded the train in Bengaluru with explosives and timed it to go off at the Chennai railway station.

One person died in that incident. The SIMI members assembled the bomb in the wash room of the train. This means that they passed through every possible security check, if any, undetected.

Many in the police force do not prefer being posted in the Railway Protection Force. They feel that it is a punishment posting or the challenge in the job is not good enough. There have also been complaints that members of this force are not professional investigators and this has also caused a lot of problems. The biggest problem is the lack of personnel in the force which have led to complaints of over load of work. In addition to incidents in railway stations, the Railway Protection Force also has the task of manning and protecting the assets of the railways.

After 3 derailments in less than 2 months, Railways ropes in International Experts to fix Kanpur-Lucknow stretch

New Delhi: After three derailments within less than two months, the Indian Railways has roped in international experts to fix its Kanpur-Lucknow stretch.

The Indian Railways has roped in international experts to fix its Kanpur-Lucknow stretch that has witnessed a clutch of train wrecks, even as police hinted on Tuesday that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI may have instigated a November crash that claimed more than 150 lives.

Initial investigations have found damaged tracks that led to three derailments in less than two months in the same section. A six-member team of experts from South Korea began probing the incidents on Tuesday and will inspect the spot on Wednesday.

Last week, Japanese experts had conducted a similar inspection of the site where the Indore-Patna express train went off the rails on November 20. Railway experts from Italy will meet Indian Railways officials next month while the railway ministry is also in talks with French experts to carry out a probe.

“The South Korean delegation met top railway ministry officials where they were briefed about the facts related to the accident. Korean experts will carry out ultrasonic flaw detection test on the Kanpur-Lucknow section on Wednesday,” a senior railway ministry official told.

India’s extensive rail network runs 12,000 trains a day and the full-length track could circle the globe over one and a half times. More than 23 million passengers travel on it every day on journeys that extend from one end of the country to another. But the network has a poor safety record, with thousands of people dying in accidents every year, including in train derailments and collisions.

While initial probe by the railways have hinted sabotage, experts are also examining if the derailments were caused due to track fracture. The railway ministry has already sought a CBI inquiry into the crashes after an internal probe report said the fishplate was missing from the tracks at the site of the November 20 derailment.

“During track-patrolling, trackmen Sanjeev Kumar and Ramraj found 50 elastic rail clips and three pairs of fishplates removed from the railway track between Kalyanpur and Mandhana railway stations of Farrukhabad-Kanpur Anwarganj section. Many cuts by a hacksaw were also found on the track,” the report said.

The country recorded 27,581 railway deaths in 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available, with most victims falling from, or being struck by, moving trains.

Railway ministry will allocate Rs 2,000 crore for track maintenance and safety in the upcoming budget. An official said the railways plans to procure ultrasonic-flaw detection machines for minute scanning of the tracks. The machine, being used in countries such as Japan, Spain and China, employs ultrasonic waves to detect if there is any fracture or physical obstruction on the tracks.

The Indian Railways spends over Rs.55,000 crore annually on safety, but its share on track maintenance has been abysmally low. Sources said the organisation allocated merely Rs.60 crore for safety of tracks in 2012-13 and Rs 287 crore in the next fiscal year. In 2014-15, no money was earmarked for this purpose.

However, the Narendra Modi government increased the expenditure on track safety to Rs 1,200 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 1,508 crore in 2016-17. The railways has nearly 1.3 lakh kilometres of tracks across the country.

Three Accidents near Kanpur in 2 months were Sabotage Activities: CBI

Two men were spotted cutting railway tracks past midnight on December 31 near Kothi village in Mandhana. Both managed to escape on noticing the patrolling team. Damaged railway tracks near Kanpur raises red flags over recent train accidents in UP. Detailed investigation by CBI will explain the reason behind three major train accidents in last two months near Kanpur.

KANPUR: CBI had prima facie noted that the three accidents in and around Kanpur city in the last 2 months are perfectly handled sabotage activities which Indian Railways has been wrongly attributing to the wreckage of Rail track.

Patrolling team of Railways had finally noticed that there were repeated sabotage attempts by unidentified persons on the Kanpur of RPF The CBI, on Friday, began its investigation into the case of fish plates and elastic clips spotted missing on Farrukhabad railway track in Mandhana on the city outskirts a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Lucknow on January 2.

Two men were spotted cutting railway tracks past midnight on December 31 near Kothi village in Mandhana. Both managed to escape on noticing the patrolling team. The railways had requested the CBI to conduct an inquiry into the incident considering it to be a case of suspected sabotage. A CBI team along with senior RPF officials including DIG Railways reached Mandhana. They spoke to the railway staff and gathered evidences.  CBI also requested Railways to hand over the Enquiry/Investigation Reports of all the three accidents near Kanpur in the last two months which toold toll of nearly 200 lives. Railways yet to submit the report copies to CBI.

Sabotages on the Rise: On December 28 Sealdah-Ajmer Express derailment near Rura Railway Station and January 12 goods train derailment near Unnao in UP, besides the ghastly Pukhrayan case which took toll of more than 160 passengers.  Almost all these accidents took place only past mid-nights.

The railway staff told the CBI team that as many as 30 pedal clips had been opened.Had the patrolling team not noticed the missing pedals and attempt being made to cut the track, a major accident could have been possible.

Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), NER, Sanjay Yadav said the railway board on Thursday had confirmed CBI investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, the work of route restoration on Kanpur-Lucknow route near Sehjani four km from Shuklaganj railway station in Unnao continued. A goods train derailed here on Thursday evening.

AK Mittal, Chairman Railway Board, who was also in Kanpur today, reviewed the accident spot in Pukhrayan where Indore-Patna Express derailed on November 20, which claimed more than 150 lives and left many injured.  While talking to mediapersons after inspection, he said that only a detailed investigation will explain the reason behind three major train accidents in last two months near Kanpur.

He was referring to December 28 Sealdah-Ajmer Express derailment near Rura Railway Station and January 12 goods train derailment near Unnao in UP, besides the Pukhrayan case.

Alert youths in UP help avoid train accident

A group of youngsters helped avert a train accident on Sunday night by alerting railway linemen after they spotted suspicious activity on the tracks near Mandhana-Naramau area, on the Kanpur-Farrukhabad rail section. According to locals, some youngsters who were passing by the railway track noticed about five miscreants trying to cut the track after removing nearly 50 pandrol clips and three pairs of fishplate. They raised an alarm and rushed to the spot immediately , but the miscreants managed to flee.The locals then alerted the linemen, who in turn informed senior railway authorities and halted all trains passing through the area.

Maoists blasts on Rail Tracks underlines Security Loopholes in CIC Section

moist-blast-on-tracks-in-dhanbad-divisionDhanbad: Suspected Maoists triggered three blasts on railway tracks in Bokaro during their protest week that concluded on Tuesday, underlining loopholes in security in Dhanbad division’s CIC section that continues to be a soft target of Naxalites.

Rebels blew up two concrete sleepers of the tracks and set fire to the diesel engine of a goods train near Dumri Vihar station on October 6.

They struck again and triggered a blast on the rails between Jageshwar Vihar and Dania on Monday and blew up a portion of the tracks between Dania and Dumri on Tuesday.

All the three blasts took place on a 30km-long stretch of single line between Gomia and Jageshwar Vihar, disrupting railway services for hours on every occasion.

Sources said there had been over two dozen blasts in the past seven years, especially during Maoist bandhs, on the stretch despite sustained anti-Naxalite operations across Bokaro district.

According to police, the railway tracks between Gomia and Jagehswar Vihar pass through forested and hilly terrains. Besides, there is no proper road to allow security forces to maintain a proper vigil on the railway property.

“The Naxalites use the topography cleverly to strike at will and escape without being challenged by the police. The three back-to-back attacks have given a clear signal to security forces and the administration that the CIC section still remains vulnerable,” said a senior police officer.

Public relations officer, Dhanbad division, Sanjay Prasad agreed that the CIC section was definitely vulnerable to extremist attacks. “Time and again, railway property has been attacked on the CIC section, especially during Maoist bandhs. The railways and the government must take steps to check this menace,” Prasad added.

Bokaro SP Y.S. Ramesh said it was not possible to deploy security personnel all along the 30km-long stretch. “The only way is to spot Naxalites hiding in the area with the help of local intelligence and pre-empt attacks,” the SP said. He added Naxalites would soon be taken to task.

The commandant of the 26th battalion of CRPF, A.K. Singh, said the topography provided rebels an easy escape route. “We are working out a new strategy to protect the railway property and thwart Maoist design,” he added.

Detection of Bomb on Rail Track in East Champaran triggers panic, kids stop a train

MUZAFFARPUR: Detection of a pressure cooker bomb on the railway track at the outer signal of Ghorasahan railway station on Raxaul- Darbhanga section of the railway on Sunday noon triggered panic in the area and railways authorities and East Champaran district administration officials immediately swung into action. RPF Commandant and Bomb Disposal Squad rushed to Ghorasahan from Muzaffarpur and defused the bomb. The recovery of bomb at pillar number 19 at the outer signal of Ghorasahan railway station in East Champaran district affected movement of trains for hours.

In fact, the children present on the spot stopped a passenger train approaching Ghorasahan railway station by waving their shirts to the loco pilot who stooped the train about a kilometre away from the railway station. Everyone lauded their bravery as they had averted a major train accident. The passenger train was enroute Sitamarhi from Raxaul.

The district administration has sounded alert in the border areas and police were investigation whether it was an act of naxalites or terrorists. It may be mentioned here that maoists had planted can bomb on the railway track between Motihari and Pipra railway stations in 2010 and blew up seven bogies of a goods train.

The East Champaran SP said that the bomb had been defused and railways tracks were safe. He said the normal traffic would resume soon. He aid the bomb pats were being lifted from the spot as exhibits. The SP said that nuts and bolt used for shrapnels indicated it was a typical naxal IED.

Rouge Nation Pakistan runs Azadi Train covered with posters of Terrorist Burhan Wani

Our neighbouring rogue nation ‘Pakistan’ features dreaded terrorist Burhan Wani as ‘martyr’ in their Special Azadi Train. After Salahuddin’s nuclear war threat, Pakistan again ups the ante on its claim for Kashmir!

burhan waniIslamabad/Karachi: The real face of Pakistan – a state unfortunately carved out of India in 1947 as a separate nation on extreme religious lines has been exposed once again! In a shameful and condemnable incident, posters of slain terrorist Burhan Wani has been put up on the walls of Pakistan’s ‘Azadi Express’ train.

burhan wani with islamists
Terrorism on Religious Lines – a time pass game created by Pakistan for Kashmiri youth. India’s Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi recently said that these youngsters from J&K instead of holding Books and Laptops are unfortunately encouraged to carry guns and stones with extreme and unnatural hatred towards India – their own country, which has an impeccable and exemplary track record of religious tolerance of highest degree since ages unknown.

Posters of Burhan Wani, the 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander who was shot dead by military forces on 8 July in J&K, have been posted on Pakistan’s Azadi Special Express train.

Pakistan, ahead of its Independence Day, has put up Burhan Wani’s posters on the walls of its ‘Azadi Express’ train.

The train will go to Karachi from Peshawar on 14 August, Pakistan’s independence day.

This is another example of Pakistan upping the ante on its claim for Kashmir purely on religious lines.

Besides posters of Wani, the train is also covered with photos of Kashmiri civilians who were left injured during heavy stone pelting and protests that broke out after Wani’s death.

On Monday, Syed Salahuddin, head of Hizbul Mujahideen – a terrorist organisation covertly run by Pakistan’s ISI, had threatened a nuclear attack on New Delhi. “Pakistan is duty bound, morally bound, politically bound and constitutionally bound to provide concrete, substantial support to the ongoing freedom struggle on religious lines on the territory of Kashmir.

And if Pakistan provides this support, there is a great chance of a nuclear war between the two powers,” Salahuddin told the media in Karachi.

He said that he can predict a fourth war with certainty because the Kashmiris are no longer willing to compromise under any circumstances to stay with secular India and want to join Islamic state.

Islamic Train run by Pakistan
Pakistan – a Nation of Religious Maniacs! State run Islamic Train by Pakistan Railways at Karachi Railway Station

He further said the Kashmiri people have reached this conclusion that they have no second option except to go ahead with an armed struggle and an armed jihad against India

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif too praised Wani and also remarked that “Kashmir will one day become Pakistan”, a comment which evoked a sharp reaction from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said his dream of the state becoming a part of his country “will not be realised even at the end of eternity”.

Burhan Wani was a militant who was killed by Indian Army on July 8. Since then, there have been many violent protests in the valley which has lead to deaths of at civilians until now.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday blamed Pak-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) for orchestrating protests in Jammu and Kashmir that entered the 33rd day even as Parliament debated the unrest in the Valley.

The agency’s assertion was based on the videographed interrogation of Pakistani terrorist Bahadur Ali, who was arrested in North Kashmir on July 25. The video shows 21-year-old Ali, a resident of Raiwind in Lahore, talking about the role of LeT and sophisticated communication network raised with the assistance of the Pakistani Army. This is first time the agency has shown the video statement of a captured terrorist.

Inspector General of NIA Sanjeev Singh told reporters that Ali was constantly guided and directed by LeT control centre Alpha-3, which is located in the high altitude of Pak-pccupied-Kashmir.

“During communications with Ali, Alpha-3 said that LeT cadres had been successful in fuelling large scale agitation in Kashmir after Eid subsequent to the death of Burhan Wani (self-styled commander of Hizbul Mujahideen) in Kashmir. Further investigation is continuing on the disclosure of Ali regarding his role in the present unrest in Kashmir,” he said.

He said Alpha-3, with the help of Pak armed forces, is a fixed communication centre. Once the terrorists are inside Indian territory, Alpha-3 “guides, directs and controls their operations” and whenever required, it arranges tactical and material support through previously identified contacts.

According to the NIA, Ali was recruited in Hafiz Sayeed-led Jamaat ud Dawa (JUD) in 2008-2009 at the tender age of 13-14 years. He was tasked with collecting ‘Jihad fund’ in his village. He was radicalised and made to serve in the office of the NGO of LeT ‘Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation’ in Lahore. Ali had undergone three training courses 15 day Daura-e-Tulba (basic training) and 21 days Daura-e-Am (first stage of arms training)


Manipur Lacks Tripura’s Resolve: Ultra menace hits Jiribam-Tupul Rail Line Expansion Project

That resolve is missing in Manipur. With ministers and officials backing different insurgent groups, usually belonging to their ethnicity, the militants have a field day and Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal project has become a casualty. Future ‘Trans-Asian Railway Project’ badly hit by repeated Extortion, Abductions in the North-Eastern India

Imphal: Work on the 84-km Jiribam-Tupul railway expansion project in Manipur, something that could boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Act East’ policy in linking up with tiger economies of Southeast and East Asia, is way behind schedule.

Manipur Rail abductionsThe Trans-Asian Railway project can be crucial in transforming India’s ‘Look East policy’ into ‘Act East’ and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed for it strongly. While funds are not holding back the drive, the law and order situation is certainly hampering the project.

The plan was to extend the railway line from Imphal to Moreh on the Manipur-Myanmar border. Indian railways would then link up with Myanmar railway at the Moreh-Tamu border point. When completed, the line is expected to put Imphal on India’s railway map. The first phase of the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal broad gauge rail project in Manipur was to be completed by March 2016 .

“How can there be a Delhi-Hanoi Trans-Asian Railway if India cannot complete its railway expansion through Manipur before it links up with the Myanmar railway system?” says logistic expert Atin Kumar Sen, a former office-bearer with the Asian Council of Logistics Management.

But it is not funds that is holding up work on the Manipur railway project. The government has allotted Rs 1,397 crore for the Jiribam-Tupul segment and the implementing agency, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), was comfortable with it.

Running Behind Schedule:

>  Act East policy will remain a cliché unless key projects like the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway line is
>  The project was to be completed by March 2018; the first section by March 2016.
>  Work on the first section, Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal, is far past schedule.
>  The main reason for disruption of work is rampant extortion by rebel groups in the area.
>  The Manipur government is doing little to control, let alone crush the rebel groups.

But officials are worried over the law and order situation and threat of abductions and attacks faced by companies working on the project.

“Law and order is horrible, all companies working on the project suffer huge extortion,” said Sen.

Work stopped for weeks after Mohammed Munir Raza, a manager with Coastal Projects, was kidnapped by militants of the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) in January this year.

The ZUF is one of the more than dozen armed groups that are forcing companies to pay through their nose or suffer abductions.

Workers and managers often flee construction sites for fear of abductions or attacks when their companies say no more payments can be made.

The Manipur government has done little to control the situation that threatens to derail one of India’s most ambitious infrastructure projects.

What worries companies the most is that the ZUF, despite being down to hardly 25 activists, can go scot free because it enjoys backing of a top tribal minister in the Ibobi Singh government.

Intelligence officials say a former home ministry official who was behind the ZUF’s formation as a ‘counter-weight’ to Naga rebel group NSCN is now back as a senior official in his parent Manipur cadre.

We want the army to conduct a sweeping combing operation here, like it once did in the Loktak area . And it should remain to command and control the central forces, so that such a crucial national project is completed in due time:  says a corporate boss of a company involved in the Jiribam-Tupul section of the project.

“If someone with 25 activists can hold a national project like this to ransom, we would expect the Centre to deploy the army and central paramilitary forces to ensure completion of this project,” says a top manager of a company working in Tupul.

But home ministry officials say that may not be possible because law and order is a state subject and any uncalled-for central intervention will provoke cries of federalism in danger, especially because the Manipur government is run by the Congress and the one in Delhi by the BJP.

The Jiribam-Tupul section has 112 minor bridges, six major bridges, three road overbridges and two road under-bridges.

In the first phase, there will be 34 tunnels covering a length of 39,401 metres.

The longest tunnel in the Jiribam-Tupul section will be 4.9 km in length, while the longest tunnel in the Tupul-Imphal section will be 10.75 km.

The 12.5 km track linking the main line from Jiribam to Dholakhal section and 1.20 km of loop line have been completed.

But the rest of the Jiribam-Tupul project, that was to be fully completed by March 2016, is way behind schedule.

The railways had told the Modi government that the Tupul-Imphal section, covering 27 km, cannot now be completed within the target date of March 2018, since the first phase (Jiribam-Tupul) is behind schedule.

Modi’s plans to take the railway line to Moreh, 109 km from Imphal on the Manipur-Myanmar border, looks like distant.

Security Issue

However, huge extortion demands and occasional abductions by a host of underground militant groups have badly affected work on the Jiribam-Tupul section of the Jiribam-Imphal railway line.

The implementing agency, the Northeast Frontier Railway, is upset with the Manipur government for failing to provide security to companies working on the project.

A ‘Frankenstein’ Let Loose in Manipur?

In January, militants of the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) kidnapped Mohammad Munir Raza, a manager of the Coastal Projects Limited, and one of his local associates. They demanded a ransom of Rs 1.5 crore. Angry workers and frightened managers from all companies suspended work thereafter. Raza is from Bihar and his family and company’s appeals did not have any effect on the Manipur government.

Interestingly, intelligence officials say the ZUF is a small group with barely 25-30 militants now. They say it was floated by the Home Ministry as a counter-weight to the Naga rebel group, NSCN(I-M) .

The official who was behind the move is now said to be back in his home cadre, Manipur, as a senior official. Which is why it comes as no surprise that there is very little action when companies complain about threats and abduction by ZUF.

ZUF’s leader Benjamin has a free run of the area – state police does not touch him because he is also said to be close to a top tribal politician in the Ibobi Singh government .

A senior official of one of the construction companies involved with the project says there is a need for ‘direct deployment’ of central para-military forces under the army’s command to ensure completion of this project.

If states like Manipur mess up that way, this is something worth considering .

Manipur Lacks Tripura’s Resolve

Tripura witnessed a similar problem in extending the railway to capital Agartala — NLFT and ATTF militants abducted and even killed managers of companies involved with the project for failing to pay up.

But then it crushed the tribal insurgency by some determined action and the moment that was done, Tripura pushed for completing the railway line to Agartala .

That resolve is missing in Manipur. With ministers and officials backing different insurgent groups, usually belonging to their ethnicity, the militants have a field day and Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal project has become a casualty.

A Bridge Too Far?

Manipur now has the only rail head at Jiribam which is an extension of the 1.5 km Lumding-Silchar meter gauge section in Assam. The first phase of the project covers 84 km of the Jiribam-Tupul section .

Railway officials say the Jiribam-Tupul section will have 112 minor bridges, six major bridges, three road over bridges (ROB) and two road under bridges (RUB). In the first phase, there will be a total of 34 tunnels covering a total length of 39,401 meters. The longest tunnel in Jiribam-Tupul section will be 4.9 km in length, while the longest tunnel in the Tupul-Imphal section will be 10.75 km.

The railways had told Modi government that the Tupul-Imphal section covering 27 km was to be completed by March 2018 with final location survey completed. The Railway Board has sanctioned Rs 1,397 crore for this section. There will be 12 tunnels with a total length of 15.1 km, three major and 27 minor bridges along with two station buildings. But if the first phase is behind schedule, delay on the second one is inevitable.

Al Qaeda ‘hacks’ Indian Railways website, leaves message for ‘Indian Muslims’

Hacker IRBhusawal: Terror outfit al-Qaida on Tuesday allegedly hacked a microsite of the Indian Railways’ RailNet page. The hacked page of Bhusawal division of Personnel Department of the Central Railway and part of a large intranet created for the department’s administrative needs, was replaced by a message purportedly from Maulana Aasim Umar, al-Qaida chief in south Asia, to all Indian Muslims.

“Why is there no storm in your ocean? A message for Muslims of India from Maulana Aasim Umar (May Allah protect him),” read the message.

An attached 11-page document on the hacked page read: “Will the land of Delhi not give birth to a Shah Muhadith Delhvi who may once again teach the Muslims of India the forgotten lesson of Jihad and inspire them to take to the battlefields of Jihad?”

“Is there no successor left of the group that drenched itself in blood at Balakot, who possesses the spirit of rising in rebellion against a system based on disbelief and offering one’s life for Allah?,” the message said.

Through the message, the Muslims in India were encouraged to participate in ‘jihad’ and help defeat the United States and its allies.

Umar was a resident of Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh and was reportedly appointed chief of the al-Qaida in the Indian sub-continent (AQIS) last year.

Umar, also known as Sanaul Haq, allegedly joined the jihadist circle after the Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992. Educated at the famous Dar-ul-Uloom seminary at Deoband, from where he graduated in 1991, Umar, investigators say, disappeared from Sambhal in 1995.

Delhi Metro faces Threat from Terrorists, Parliamentary Panel issues Warning

As Delhi prepares for public transport use due to new pollution control norms, the Delhi Metro’s security is under scanner and could be attacked by terrorists

dmrc securityNew Delhi: In a  serious concern for the Delhi  metro travellers, a Parliamentary panel in its findings  has felt there is an urgent need to strengthen the security of the Delhi Metro to neutralise the possibility of any terrorist strike as the capital’s much used mass rapid transport system is quite vulnerable to attacks. As a precautionary measure it also suggested that the visibility of Delhi Police in the Delhi Metrostations must be substantially increased.

“The committee observes that about 25 lakh commuters travel through metro rail daily in Delhi and in view of the prevailing security scenario in the country, metro rail in Delhi appears to be vulnerable to man-made disasters or terrorist attack,” the department-related Parliamentary standing committee on Home Affairs said in its 189 report.

The panel recommended that Delhi Police should continue to take pre-emptive steps to guard Delhi Metro against any causality or strike.

“Delhi Police should be in close coordination with Central Industrial Security Force to provide appropriate security without any possibility of lapse. Deploymentof Delhi Police staff at more Metro stations may also be examined,” it said. The ridership of Delhi Metro has already touched 26 lakh. As crowd density at Metro station at any given point of time is very high, hence it is a potential target for the terrorist activity. At present, there are eight Metro Police stations to look after thelaw and order, crime and security of the area, it said.

Delhi Police is taking various pre-emptive steps like anti-sabotage check in cooperation with CISF. To strengthen the security of the Metro stations and to neutralise a terrorist strike, a proposal for Quick Response Teams at different metro stations is also under process, the Committee said.

Besides this, process to install CCTV camera at parking lots and other areas of Metro stations has also been initiated. The manpower proposal for the creation of 2,088 posts for eight existing metro stations is part of the 17 proposals sent to Ministry of Finance for approval.

These booths at the metro stations are already in operation at Rajiv Chowk metro station and Chandni Chowk metro station where staff from Metro Police station is being deployed.

“There is also a proposal for creation of six new Metro Police stations for the metro stations coming up in the Phase-III of Delhi Metro. A close coordinationwith CISF is being maintained by the Delhi Police. Delhi Police presence has been increased at Metro stations,” the report said.

Indian Railways to Fight Red Fright in Freight Corridor

Raipur: As the Left Wing Extremists eye to disrupt economic services in their stronghold in eastern States of Chhattisgarh and Odisha, a major mineral bearing belt, the Indian Railways is busy chalking out strategies to thwart Naxal activities in Kirandul-Koraput line which earns it about Rs.6000 crore in revenue annually.

Red Fight RlysWhile Chhattisgarh Police has stepped up anti-Maoist operations with significant success on its side of the border, the Odisha Police too has gone after the Left ultras to match the pressure. As a result, the security forces are anticipating increasing attacks by the Red rebels on communication infrastructure such as railway and roads.

As the two States aggressively push flush-out operations, Maoist attack is anticipated to rise on Kirandul-Koraput line which is a major freight corridor.

Sources said Chhattisgarh DGP AN Upadhyay had a meeting with Director General of Railway Protection Force RR Verma in this regard at New Delhi earlier this week which was followed by another round of meeting with Chief Security Commissioner (CRC) and IG of RPF, East Coast Railway Atul Pathak at Raipur.

Since double-lining work for Kirandul-Koraput line is being taken up in different phases after approval of the Centre, the security agencies are apprehensive that Naxals might resort to disruptive activities to stall the work.

So far, Maoists have hit five economic targets this year, all of them in Chhattisgarh, while attacks on rail infrastructure are limited to Chhattisgarh and Odisha though 12 of 13 incidents have been reported in the neighbouring State alone.

The major thrust of anti-Maoist strategies to prevent attacks on railway infrastructure is focused on Dantewada and Jagadalpur – both located in Bastar Division – and neighbouring Koraput. Source said security agencies are assessing vulnerability in the region and the trends so that preventive measures can be put in place.

“Although the Maoists have been lying low for now, it is part of their activity cycle. The rebels are known to strike after regrouping in newer pockets. We are keeping track of the Intelligence inputs on their movements and activities in the region,” sources pointed out.

Apart from protecting freight traffic, the Railways is also giving thrust to ensure that project works for double lining remain unharmed because the response of railway contractors to the new works is directly related to the Maoist activities. Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved doubling of Jagdalpur-Koraput section at Rs.1839 crore. The project will cover 110.22 km in seven years. Similarly, the 160-km Kirandul-Jagdalpur double line at an estimated Rs. 1143 crore is at its preliminary stages.

Contacted, Pathak said, “We are committed to ensuring peace and security in the region by preventing Maoist attacks on railway infrastructure and project works.”

Over 60 Security Breaches reported in Delhi Metro system this year

dmrc securityNew Delhi: Over 60 security breaches either by way of smuggling of unchecked baggages or unfrisked entry of passengers inside Delhi Metro stations have been detected this year, underlining the chinks in the armour of the rapid rail network used by an estimated 26 lakh people every day.

The number of incidents have rung alarm bells in the security establishment, especially after a recent incident where a bag containing a pistol was allegedly sneaked in by a man which he later used to shoot himself at the busy Connaught Place station.

According to an official data accessed, 24 cases were detected between January—September this year of people clandestinely getting inside the station area by hoodwinking CISF and other security guards deployed to mandatorily frisk each and every person going inside the Metro station area.

A total of 43 incidents have been reported during the same period where unchecked baggage was sneaked in through the unsecured areas in Metro stations.

“Work is on to plug loopholes and enhance security features here,” a senior official said.

Time Bomb planted at Farrukhabad Railway Station – Timely Detection averts train tragedy

A GRP police officer carrying the Time Bomb recovered from Farrukhabad railway station on Saturday
A GRP police officer carrying the Time Bomb recovered from Farrukhabad railway station on Saturday

Farrukhabad Jn (FBD): A major railway tragedy was averted on Saturday when a time bomb was found near an old storehouse at Farukkhabad station and later defused, police said here.

A Government Railway Police patrol team informed us that a “bomb-like” object was lying on platform number one following which army officials and a bomb disposal squad in Kanpur were contacted, they said.

The platform was evacuated and movement of trains to and from it stopped.

The bomb disposal squad led by M.K.Pandey confirmed it was a bomb timed to explode at 6:20 a.m., minutes before Mainpuri passenger train was to depart at 6:40 a.m.

It did not explode as the timer developed a problem, Mr.Pandey said, adding that further details would be available only after a probe into the matter was over.

Timely detection of a bomb by an alert patrol party minutes before departure of a passenger train here this morning averted a major tragedy even as a bomb hoax at Tundla railway station in Firozabad district forced Lucknow-bound Shatabdi Express to halt for over 30 minutes.

A fully packed sophisticated Time Bomb at Farrukhabad Jn Railway station
A fully packed sophisticated Time Bomb at Farrukhabad Jn Railway station that created panic

The incident comes a day after a major train mishap was averted near Mohanlalganj, on the outskirts of the State capital of Lucknow, due to alertness of Prayag-Lucknow passenger train driver when he noticed 50 cm rail track missing.

The Railways have ordered a departmental inquiry into the possibility of sabotage. The Farrukhabad incident created panic in the security establishment as it came just a day after a major train mishap was averted near Mohanlalganj, on the outskirts of the state capital of Lucknow, due to alertness of Prayag-Lucknow passenger train driver when he noticed 50 cm rail track missing.

These incidents have come amid reports of ISIS planning to expand its network in Uttar Pradesh, where alleged sympathisers of the Islamic State are under the scanner of the Union Home Ministry.

Confirmed Sabotage: Alert Train Driver averts Mishap as 50-cm Track goes Missing

50 cm rail track missing near Lucknow, train mishap averted. Sabotage bid puts police on high alert.

Policeman inspecting the spot where a 50 cm railway track was cut near Mohanlalganj on outskirts of Lucknow on Friday
Policeman inspecting the spot where a 50 cm railway track was cut near Mohanlalganj on outskirts of Lucknow on Friday

MohanlalGanj (MLJ): A major train mishap was on Friday averted near Mohanlalganj on the outskirts of Lucknow due to the alertness of Prayag-Lucknow passenger train driver when he noticed 50-cm rail track missing.

Fuel tank hit

Track chopped off near Mohanlalganj“The train started from Kankaha railway station and at 2-58 a.m. near Mohanlalganj, the train driver felt that something hit fuel tank, before the place where the track was tampered with.

He immediately stopped the train, thus averting a major accident,” Divisional Railway Manager, Northern Railway, A.K. Lahoti said.

Just 100 mts ahead

After the train driver informed the station master, railway officials rushed to the spot and found that 50-cm track was cut and the portion was found 100 metres away from the track, he said.

Meanwhile, railways have ordered a departmental inquiry into the possibility of sabotage.

7/11 Mumbai Train Bomb Blasts: Court pronounces Death for 5 Convicts

Mumbai Train Bomb Blasts ConvictsMumbai: A Special MCOCA court on Wednesday sentenced five convicts to death in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings case.

The five — Kamal Ansari, Faisal Shaikh, Estesham Siddiqui, Naveed Khan and Asif Bashir Khan — were given death penalty for committing murder and criminal conspiracy under Sections 302 and 120B of the IPC, respectively.  These culprits are not only the destroyers of mankind, but are extremely infused with Islamic terrorism and are capable of eliminating the very fabric of the society at large.  Hence they should not be left, said the Public Prosecutor.

The court, in its order, said: “They shall be hanged by their necks till they are dead.”

However, the five maintained that they were innocent and expressed their faith in higher courts.

The rest were given life imprisonment for offences under MCOCA, UAPA and waging war under Section 121 of the IPC.

“We were hoping for acquittal. …a higher court will acquit them, ” said Sajid Ansari’s wife. He was among those who received life imprisonment.

The MCOCA court recently convicted 12 persons and acquitted Abdul Wahid Din Mohammed Shaikh.

Seven serial blasts ripped through Mumbai’s suburban railway network on July 11, 2006, leaving at least 180 dead and several injured.

Mumbai Train Bomb Blasts

Public Prosecutor hails Punishment

Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare had sought death for the eight persons convicted in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts case, but the court awarded it only to five persons.

“I welcome the verdict on punishment. I am happy that the court did not wholly accept the prosecution’s submission and it independently assessed the material and came to its own conclusion,” Mr.Thakare told. The 189th victim of the attack, Parag Sawant, died this July after a long battle with life-threatening injuries. There were initially 13 accused in the case. The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act court recently convicted 12 persons in the case, acquitting Abdul Wahid Din Mohammed Shaikh. The convicted will appeal against the trial court verdict in the High Court after receiving a copy of the judgment. “This verdict is the biggest injustice to the victims of the blasts. They have only been shown a picture of justice. The citizens and victims should know what went in the name of giving justice to them. We are 101 per cent sure that we will get justice from the High Court,” defence lawyer Wahab Khan said.

A look at the role of convicts in the case

From arranging logistics for carrying out the 11 July, 2006 train bombings to conducting recce of suburban trains, the accused had the task cut out for them to precision, as per the chargesheet filed by Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

Nine years after seven RDX bombs ripped through as many local trains, killing 189 people and injuring over 800, special judge Yatin D Shinde on Wednesday pronounced capital punishment for Kamal Ahamed Ansari (37), Mohammed Faisal Shaikh (36), Ehtesham Siddiqui (30), Naveed Hussain Khan (30) and Asif Khan (38), all of them bomb planters.

The remaining seven, who were given life imprisonment, are Tanvir Ahmed Ansari (37), Mohammad Majid Shafi (32), Shaikh Alam Shaikh (41), Mohd Sajid Ansari (34), Muzzammil Shaikh (27), Soheil Mehmood Shaikh (43) and Zamir Ahmad Shaikh (36).

As per the chargesheet filed in 2006, Kamal Ahamed Ansari transported Pakistani nationals to Mumbai via Nepal border, procured explosives, attended training in Pakistan and also planted a bomb in a local train, which exploded at Matunga
railway station on the fateful day.

On the role played by Mohd Faisal Shaikh, the ATS said he not only went to Pakistan twice for training, but had also sent youths to that country for training purpose. He had also attended conspiracy meetings besides giving shelter to Pakistani nationals. Shaikh received money through hawala route. He also planted a bomb in a suburban train, which exploded in Jogeshwari.

Ehtesham Kutubuddin Siddiqui was the joint secretary of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) for Maharashtra at the time of the bombings. Besides attending conspiracy meetings, Siddiqui also conducted reconnaissance of local trains. He was also present when bombs were made. He planted an explosive in a local train, which exploded at Mira Road station.

According to ATS, Muzammil Shaikh, Sohail Mehmood Shaikh, Zamir Ahmed Shaikh and Naveed Hussain Khan attended conspiracy meetings and also surveyed local trains, while Naveed planted a bomb in a train, which exploded at Khar station.

The chargesheet said that Asif Khan had procured explosive material and planted a bomb, which exploded at Borivali station.

Tanvir Ahmed, who also underwent training in Pakistan, attended conspiracy meetings to carry out blasts. He was also present at the time of assembling bombs at suburban Govandi, the chargesheet stated.

The chargesheet said Mohammed Majid Shafi had arranged for transportation of Pakistani nationals to Mumbai via Bangladesh border and back after blasts. It said that Shaikh Alam provided his house in Govandi for making bombs, while Mohammed Sajid Ansari assembled electric circuit, which was used to trigger bombs.

Thirteen Pakistani nationals, who also played active role in the blasts are still absconding.

12 SIMI Terrorists ‘Convicted’ in Mumbai’s 7/11 Train Blasts

2 convicts to be sentenced on Monday, Sept 14

2006 Mumbai Train Blasts 4Mumbai: Nine years after seven RDX bombs kept in Mumbai suburban trains exploded killing 200 people, a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act court on Friday convicted 12 persons belonging to Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in the serial blasts case.

Delivering the verdict, the Special MCOCA Judge Yatin D Shinde pronounced 12 accused as guilty while acquitting one accused Abdul Wahid Shaikh, 34, in the case.

The 12 accused who were convicted on Friday are: Kamal Ahamed Ansari, 37, Tanvir Ahmed Ansari, 37, Mohd Faisal Shaikh, 36, Ehtesham Siddiqui, 30, Mohammad Majid Shafi, 32, Shaikh Alam Shaikh, 41, Mohd Sajid Ansari, 34, Muzzammil Shaikh Soheil Mehmood Shaikh, Zamir Ahmad Shaikh, 36, Naveed Hussain Khan, 30 and Asif Khan, 38.

However, Azam Chima, along with 14 others, are still absconding in the case.

Arguments for the quantum of sentence are likely to begin on Monday. In the trial that lasted for eight years, the prosecution examined 192 witnesses, including eight Indian Police Service and five Indian Administrative Service officers as well as 18 doctors. The defence lawyers examined 51 witnesses and one person was called as a court witness.

The deposition made by witnesses runs into around 5,500 pages.

Seven RDX bombs had exploded in the first class coaches of Mumbai’s suburban trains on July 11, 2006, killing 200 people and injuring 829.

The blast occurred within a span of 10 minutes between Khar Road-Santacruz, Bandra-Khar Road, Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road-Bhayander, Matunga-Mahim Junction and Borivali.

The MCOCA judge had concluded the trial on August 19 last year. The examination of witnesses resumed after two years since the Supreme Court had stayed the trial in 2008.

Before the stay, the prosecution had already examined a police officer. The Supreme Court vacated the stay on April 23, 2010.

REWIND: 11 minutes, 7 bombs and a 9-year trial

A Special MCOCA court has convicted 12 of the 13 accused in the July 11, 2006 Mumbai suburban train bombings in which 188 people were killed. Here’s a lowdown on what the case is all about:

Mumbai 711The Blasts

Starting 6.24 pm on July 11, 2006, seven blasts went off within 11 minutes ripping through the first class compartments of the trains at Matunga, Mahim, Bandra, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Mira Road stations.

A total of 189 persons were killed and over 819 were injured.

The attack was carried out by the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.

Pressure cookers with a 2.5 kg deadly concoction of RDX, ammonium citrate and other chemicals were placed in the first class compartments of suburban trains of the Western Railway during the evening peak hours.

The Main Accused

Kamal Ahamed Ansari (37), Tanvir Ahmed Ansari (37), Mohd Faisal Shaikh (36), Ehtesham Siddiqui (30), Mohammad Majid Shafi (32), Shaikh Alam Shaikh (41), Mohd Sajid Ansari (34), Abdul Wahid Shaikh (34), Muzzammil Shaikh (27), Soheil Mehmood Shaikh (43), Zamir Ahmad Shaikh (36), Naveed Hussain Khan (30), Asif Khan (38) are the accused who were arrested by Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

Azam Chima, along with 14 others, is absconding in the case.

As per the prosecution’s case, the accused persons were SIMI activists. They held several conspiratorial meetings at Mohd Faisal Shaikh’s house in Bandra and at another accused Mohd Sajid Ansari’s house in Mira Road, where they decided to target local trains as they were crowded and security was not as tight as for the other sites they had surveyed.

On the day of the attacks, they travelled in different taxis to Churchgate with seven bags of explosives, kept at Faisal’s house, and planted them on various trains. The Mumbai Crime Branch arrested five alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives, including a Sadiq Sheikh, in connection with the bombings, bringing forth a possible IM hand in the blasts and putting a question mark on the ATS probe. The ATS later discarded IM’s role and Sadiq, who confessed, was declared hostile.

The Trial

In a trial that lasted for eight years, the prosecution examined 192 witnesses, including eight Indian Police Service and five Indian Administrative Service officers as well as 18 doctors.

The defence lawyers examined 51 witnesses and one person was called as a court witness. The deposition made by witnesses runs into around 5,500 pages.

The prosecuting agency, state Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS), had examined 200 witnesses in the case against 13 accused, while the defence lawyers examined a total of 40 witnesses.

Special MCOCA judge Yatin D Shinde had concluded the trial on August 19 last year.

Asked about the reason behind the delay in delivering verdict, special public prosecutor Raja Thakare, who appeared for the ATS in this case, said the court must be ensuring that all the evidence and arguments of both the prosecution and defence is covered in the judgment and there are no loose ends.

“During the trial, we (prosecution and defence lawyers) submit a lot of evidence and judgments in support of our arguments. All that has to be perused and considered by the judge before passing judgment. It is a huge task,” Thakare said.


MCOCA Court to pronounce verdict in 2006 Mumbai Train Blasts case, today

2006 Mumbai Train BlastsMumbai: Nine years after seven RDX bombs kept in Mumbai suburban trains exploded killing 200 people, a Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court is likely to pronounce its verdict on Friday.

In a trial that lasted for eight years, the prosecution examined 192 witnesses, including eight Indian Police Service (IPS) and five Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers as well as 18 doctors.

The defence lawyers examined 51 witnesses and one person was called as a court witness. Special MCOCA judge Yatin D Shinde had concluded the trial on 19 August last year.  The deposition made by witnesses runs into around 5,500 pages.

Seven RDX bombs had exploded in the first class coaches of Mumbai’s suburban trains on 11 July, 2006, killing 200 people and injuring 829. The blast occurred between Khar Road-Santacruz, Bandra-Khar Road, Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road- Bhayander, Matunga- Mahim Junction and Borivali.

2006 Mumbai Train Blasts 2The motive behind the blasts is due to the religious extremism by the Islamic Terrorist operatives named as Kamal Ahamed Ansari (37), Tanvir Ahmed Ansari (37), Mohd Faisal Shaikh (36), Ehtesham Siddiqui (30), Mohammad Majid Shafi (32), Shaikh Alam Shaikh (41), Mohd Sajid Ansari (34), Abdul Wahid Shaikh (34), Muzzammil Shaikh (27), Soheil Mehmood Shaikh (43), Zamir Ahmad Shaikh (36), Naveed Hussain Khan (30), Asif Khan (38) are the accused who were arrested by Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

Azam Chima, along with 14 others, is absconding in the case. Examination of witnesses resumed after two years since the Supreme Court had stayed the trial in 2008.

2006 Mumbai Train Blasts 3Before the stay, the prosecution had already examined a police officer. The Supreme Court vacated the stay on 23 April, 2010. The investigating agency, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had questioned as many as 200 witnesses against 13 accused.

The 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings were a series of seven bomb blasts that took place over a period of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai, the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the nation’s financial capital.

The bombs were set off in pressure cookers on trains plying the Western line of the Suburban Railway network. 209 people were killed and over 700 were injured.

2006 Mumbai Train Blasts 4Pressure cooker bombs were placed on trains on the western line of the suburban (“local”) train network, which forms the backbone of the city’s transport network.

Pressure cookers were used in this bombing and other recent explosions to increase the afterburn in a thermobaric reaction, more powerful than conventional high explosives.

2006 Mumbai Train Blasts 5The first blast reportedly took place at 18:24 IST (12:54 UTC), and the explosions continued for approximately eleven minutes, until 18:35, during the after-work rush hour all across Mumbai.

All the bombs had been placed in the first-class “general” compartments (some compartments are reserved for women, called “ladies” compartments) of several trains running from Churchgate, the city-centre end of the western railway line, to the western suburbs of the city.

They exploded at or in the near vicinity of the suburban railway stations of Matunga Road, Mahim, Bandra, Khar Road, Jogeshwari, Bhayandar and Borivali.

The then Home Minister Shivraj Patil told that authorities had “some” information an attack was coming, “but place and time was not known”, and the blasts were carried out very immediately after the announcement.

Also, the bomb attacks in Mumbai came hours after a series of grenade attacks in Srinagar, the largest city in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The then Home Secretary V K Duggal however said there was no link between the Srinagar and Mumbai bomb blasts.

Sabotage Angle not ruled-out in Bangalore City-Nanded Express Train Accident

Penugonda: On Monday, a truck carrying the 17-tonne granite block rammed into the H1 air-conditioned coach of the Bangalore City-Nanded Express resulting in the death of five persons including an MLA from Karnataka.

A lot of questions are arising out of this incident all across. Was the driver of the granite laden truck intentionally hit the speeding Bangalore City-Nanded express train at the Level crossing gate near Penugonda on the fateful night? Answer seems to be yes for sure, as it is reliably learnt from the labourers working in the quarry where from the 10-wheeled granite laden heavy truck started off its journey, opined that the driver of the truck used to regularly glorify terror attacks the world over. He used to also view different videos of terror attacks on his mobile regularly, and on that fateful day of accident, evidences are coming out that the driver showed the World Trade Centre terror attack at New York video to few of his fellow labourers. He also had a quarrel with some labourers on that fateful day, and heated conversations went on.. says the labourers working at the quarry. It is also reliably learnt that the driver manhandled the cleaner on that fateful night near a tea stall.  Bystanders who witnessed the quarrel some 1 km away from the the accident said that while having cigarette near a tea stall minutes before the accident occurred, driver hurled abuses on the cleaner and hit him. All these facts prove that the driver might have rammed the vehicle intentionally, and cleverly jumped off the truck few seconds before the lorry hit the approaching super fast train.

quarry siteInvestigating agencies have to bring out the real facts out in this harrowing incident and must find out whether the driver had intentionally rammed the granite laden heavy truck on to the approaching train so as to cause massive accident and loss of lives.  Fortunately the truck hit the AC Compartment.  Had it crashed onto the Sleeper Class coach or General compartment, then the casualties could have been too high, opined the Railway officials.

This accident between Rangepalli and Penukonda stations resulted in derailment of four coaches and death of five people including Deodurg MLA A Venkatesh Naik.

The Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, Bengaluru, Satish Kumar Mittal, will hold a statutory enquiry into the Monday’s accident involving Bangalore City-Nanded Express train. The inquiry will be held on Thursday at 10 am at the office of the Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru.

Any member of the public having knowledge relating to the incident and desiring to give evidence may do so at the enquiry or may write to the Commissioner of Railway Safety, No.7, Seshadri Road, Gandhinagar, Bengaluru-560009 or fax to 080-22260650.

Contractor offers special puja to ‘killer’ granite stone before removing from the accident site

The killer granite block that ripped through a railway compartment near Penukonda in the district on Monday, received some unexpected attention in the form of a special prayer by a group of contract labour engaged to shift the stone, lying near the railway track.

On Wednesday, railway contractor Venkateswarulu performed a special ‘shanti puja’ before shifting the granite block. The pooja, he said, was performed because the block of granite happened to hit an air-conditioned coach which carries fewer passengers than a regular coach. “It was really shocking as five people lost their lives in the accident. Had the granite block rammed the general coaches, the casualties would have been much more. By hitting an air-conditioned coach, it indirectly helped save more lives,” he said.

The contractor brought with him a priest to perform ‘Jalabhishekam and ‘Kunkuma Archana’. The nearly hour-and-half puja was attended by a few workers and railways staff for which the contractor reportedly bore the expenses.

Only after performing puja, the stone was lifted from the spot where it fell after slicing through the H1 coach of Nanded Express. The truck carrying the large stone is believed to have been out of control on the incline leading to the level crossing and after hitting the gate there, it careened to a side and the stone block then hit the railway compartment sideways, resulting in the deaths of four people in the coach and one in the truck.

One of the labourers at the spot who took part in the stone removal work, K Satyanarayana, said that it was indeed fortunate that the granite block did not kill more people. When contacted about the special puja, local police officials said that they were superstitions that the labourers believed in. However, they denied any knowledge of the incident.

In the end, the granite block was moved a little distance away from the track where it currently lies. Meanwhile, the railway police arrested the truck owner Venkatasubbaiah as they speeded up investigations into the accident.

Explosives found on Rail Track in Haryana could be from Kerala Naval Base

bombs rail track haryanaRohtak (ROK): The nine bombs recovered near the railway track in Kurukshetra on July 22, five days before the Gurdaspur terror attack, could have been from a naval base in Kerala. A Government Railway Police (GRP) team probing the matter has left for Kerala to verify the claim.

Inspector General of Police, GRP, Paramjit Singh Ahlawat told on Monday that the final picture behind the chance recovery of the mortar shells would be clear in a couple of days.

Ahlawat said that prima facie there was no evidence to link the recovery of mortars near the busy Ambala-Delhi railway track with the terror attack.

“A team of investigators has been sent to Kerala for investigation. I will be able to comment only after the team gives a report,” said the IGP.

However, sources said that according to an input, a parcel of explosives was being transported by the Naval Armament Depot based in Kochi in Kerala for ‘proof testing’ to the ordnance factory at Itarsi in 2012, but the consignment has not been delivered at the destination till date.

According to the sources, codes and other details furnished on the bomb casings would help in identifying the source of the explosives.
“It is yet to be ascertained if the said lost parcel of explosives meant for testing has any connection with the recovery in Kurukshetra. It is also important to investigate how the recovery was made after three years and if any police complaint was made in the alleged case of missing mortars in Kochi,” said an official.

Sources in the state police and the GRP said that prima facie it seemed that a box of ammunition could have fallen during the movement of the defence personnel.

“It is yet to be confirmed if the ammunition belonged to the army, paramilitary or any other wing of the defence forces. However, it is a case of utter carelessness and guilty would be prosecuted once the source of ammunition is ascertained,” said a police functionary.

Nine bombs were found on the track near Shahbad Markanda station in Kurukshetra district on Wednesday, disrupting rail traffic in the region.
Seven 51-mm mortar shells were found on the track around 9.30am. The eighth bomb was found near an olive green metal ammunition box found near the track in Ranjit Singh Nagar locality in the afternoon.

The ninth shell was also found near the track in the evening whereas efforts were still on to check another explosive near the track. Police sources said an ammunition box contains 10 mortar shells of which one is still missing.

Clueless about hand-grenades

Meanwhile, the police have no clues about the source of hand grenades and detonators which were recovered from a deserted place in Jhajjar on Sunday.

The Jhajjar police had recovered two live hand-grenades, detonators and fuse wires from fields in Nuna Majra village of Bahadurgarh sub-division of the district after some locals spotted the explosives from a deserted place, which is close to a power sub-station.
Though the Jhajjar police had sent the grenades to a laboratory, they did not have any information about the source of these grenades and detonators.

Jhajjar SP Sumit Kumar said, “Definitely, the source of these hand grenades is illegal as these things cannot be purchased from the market. Since the grenades are old and do not bear any stamps or markings, we have sent them to the lab to find out the source. We are also taking help of the army to ascertain from where the grenades were brought”, he added.

Asked if any army officials could be behind the recovery of the hand grenades, the SP said, “We cannot say anything in this regard as we don’t have any authentic information about it, but definitely the source is illegal”.

Though police sources said that the recovered detonators were generally used for mining activities, the recovery of grenades raised questions.

Similarly, more than 20 days after a live hand grenade was recovered from a government school in Bedwa village of Meham sub-division of the Rohtak district, the police do not have any information from where the grenade reached the village.

“After getting it defused from the bomb disposal squad, we had sent the grenade to our Madhuban lab, but they also failed to trace out the source and manufacturer of the grenade as it was about 10-years-old”, said Meham police station incharge Rajinder Singh.

He, however, said, “Army is the only source of these grenades as nobody can purchase it from the market. However, we can’t say how the grenades come out from army camps to villages”.

“We cannot deny the involvement of army men behind the recovery of grenades, but the matter should be taken seriously as it reflects the poor security of the army’s training camps, a police officer on the condition of not disclosing his name said,” said a police officer on the condition of anonymity.

Maoists would target Howrah, Sealdah, Metro stations: Eastern Railway

Kolkata (KOAA): Maoists would target important stations including, Howrah, Sealdah, Kolkata and metro rail stations in the city, Eastern Railway today said.

“Information has come that Maoists are targeting Howrah, Sealdah, Kolkata and Metro Railway stations,” an Eastern Railway release said here.

“Maoist posters have been found at some railway stations of Eastern Railway like Ratanpur and Kajra railway stations in Jamalpur-Kiul section of Malda Division,” the release said.

Security has been strengthened at all these places, it said.

Extra security measures have also been taken in view of the terror strike at Gurudaspur in Punjab, the release said.

With the “ongoing terrorist activities and threats by different groups including Maoists throughout the country, railway has emerged as an area of soft target,” it said.

Eastern Railway has made necessary security arrangements at Howrah, Sealdah, Kolkata Terminal and metro railway stations to meet any exigency.

Sniffer dogs were being used for checking at important stations, passenger areas as well as mail, express, passenger and EMU trains. Special watch was also being kept at crowded places like computerised reservation counters, cloak rooms, waiting halls, toilets and especially concourse areas.

“Quick reaction teams have been formed and all the divisions of Eastern Railway like Howrah, Sealdah, Asansol and Malda have been alerted to gear up their security machinery to combat any sort of sabotage or terrorist activities,” the release added.

Youth with firearms arrested at Kolkata metro station

A 25-year-old youth was arrested after Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel seized pistols and bullets from him at a metro station here, police said on Tuesday.

The youth was taken into custody by the RPF after, acting on a tip-off, they scanned his bag and found three locally-made pistols and five bullets as he tried to enter the Geetanjali metro station on Monday night.

The youth claimed he was taking the arms and ammunitions, so long kept in his house at Falta in South 24 Parganas, to dispose of them. He said the firearms were kept in self-defence in view of a family feud.

However, the RPF did not find the reason convincing and handed him over to police.

The youth has been booked under the Arms Act.

Terror Attack in Gurdaspur: 5 Live Bombs recovered from Dinanagar-Pathankot Railway track

Gurdaspur Terror Attack: Superintendent of Police killed by Terrorists. Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds high-level meet with Cabinet ranks

Indian police personnel take position during an encounter with armed attackers at the police station in Dinanagar town, in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India.
Indian police personnel take position during an encounter with armed attackers at the police station in Dinanagar town, in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India.

Gurdaspur (GSP): A major railway tragedy was averted after five live bombs were found near a Railway bridge on the railway track on the Amritsar-Pathankot section on Monday. The bombs were carefully wired to the railway track at a small bridge near Parmanand railway station, five km from Dinanagar. A train, which was to pass on the railway track, was stopped just 200 metres from the spot where the bombs were planted. Meanwhile, Northern Railway CPRO Neeraj Sharma said that a patrol man saw the live bombs first and informed the police thereafter. He said that two trains are halted and after assessing the situation, these trains will continue of will be cancelled. Railway traffic on the Amritsar-Pathankot section was stopped following the incident. Even as the encounter in Gurdaspur continues, Railway authorities are stunned to find five live bombs from the Dinanagar-Pathankot railway track. The bombs are believed to have been planted by the terrorists before they went on a shooting spree in Dinanagar town.

Gunbattle continues, 14 including 7 Cops killed

Four heavily-armed terrorists wearing Army fatigue went on a rampage on Monday attacking a bus and a police station complex, leaving at least 14 persons, including 2 terrorist and seven policemen, dead and several injured in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district bordering Pakistan.

Here are the ten big developments so far:

1. The terrorists, suspected to be four, struck a moving bus at Dinanagar area at 5 am, spraying bullets at passengers, injuring four. The assailants then targeted a health centre followed by a building where the families of police personnel reside and hurled grenades before entering the police station . Reports said at least two inmates have been killed in the gunbattle.

2. Army columns have been mobilised as the ‘fidayeen’ militants were holed up in Dinanagar police station complex. Special forces too have been deployed and a gunbattle was on several hours after the mayhem started. Gunshots could be heard on television as security forces in red turbans surrounded the building about 20 km from the Pakistan border.

3. Police sources said the attackers had entered India from Pakistan a couple of days ago in Jammu and Kashmir. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office, Jitendra Singh, said he did not rule out Pakistan’s involvement. “There have been earlier also reports of Pakistan infiltration and cross-border mischief in this area,” said Singh, whose constituency in the Jammu region borders Gurdaspur.

4. The Home Ministry also said an alert has been sounded along the border with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and other parts of the country. Rajnath Singh said he has spoken to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and senior officers in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) about the situation.

5. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also said he had spoken to the head of the Border Security Force and “instructed him to step up the vigil” on the border. “The situation is under control,” Singh told reporters in Bhopal before heading for Neemuch to attend the CRPF Raising Day event.

6. When asked by a reporter whether the attack could be a reaction to the capital punishment awarded to Yakub Memon in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case or it was a case of cross-border terrorism, Rajnath Singh refused to comment. “The operation is going on and I won’t say anything more than this at present,” he said.

7. Local resident Kamaljeet Singh Matharu, who said that the assailants had snatched his car after firing at him, said they were dressed in army uniform and were heavily armed. Matharu received gunshot injuries and is admitted in a local hospital.

8. In a related development, five live bombs were also found on the Amritsar-Pathankot railway track and the train services on the route have been suspended.

9. The Gurdaspur terror attack echoed in Parliament on Monday with the opposition attacking the government over its Pakistan policy and called for more internal security. “Didn’t our security agencies know about the plans of the terrorists sponsored by Pakistan?” Congress leader Anand Sharma asked.

10. Monday’s attack comes a day after India celebrated its victory over Pakistani forces at Kargil in 1999 and weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif spoke for about an hour during the BRICS summit at Ufa in Russia, raising hopes of an improvement in the bilateral relations.

With the Army launching operations against suspected militants in Punjab’s Gurdaspur on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meet in the Parliament with Union Ministers Manohar Parrikar, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu.

Just before the meeting, Defence Minister Manohar parrikar said, “Special forces have moved there (Gurdaspur). Counter insurgency and counter terror special forces are there.”

Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed confidence that the operation will be successful. “I am in touch with Punjab CM, NSA, DG BSF. The forces on the border are on alert. Operation is still on, I will not make any comments. We will be successful in operation,” he said.

In a suspected terror attack, gunmen wearing army uniform went on a rampage attacking a bus, a health centre and a police station, leaving five persons, including a policeman, dead and several injured in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

Army has launched an operation against the militants numbering about five who are holed up in Dinanagar police station complex. The assailants also targeted a building where the families of police personnel reside and threw grenades.

Army was called in from Pathankot and the whole area has been cordoned off.

Quick Reaction Teams, bomb squads, heavy police including senior officers have also been deployed in the area which lies close to the Indo-Pakistan border.

Two army helicopters were also pressed into the operation and a gunbattle was on when reports last came in. Though there were reports of a hostage situation, officials were tightlipped.

According to police, the mayhem started at about 5 AM when the attackers first targeted a roadside eatery and took off in a car after killing a person who was sleeping near Dinanagar bypass.

They opened fire on a moving bus, in which four passengers were injured, they said.

They also targeted a community health centre adjacent Dinanagar police station, in which a policeman and three civilians including a woman who were present in the premises were killed.

The gunmen entered the Dinanagar police station and opened fire on policemen there in which five policemen were seriously injured. They then targeted other part of the building where the families of police personnel reside.

In a related development, five live bombs were found on Amritsar-Pathankot railway track and the train services on the route had been suspended.

Indian Railways take Precautionary Steps to avoid Terror strike in West Bengal

Jawans inspecting Rail TracksKolkata (KOAA): A month after the central intelligence department wrote to the ministry of home affairs about possible Maoists resurgence in six districts in West Bengal, the union ministry sent a report to the state home department suggesting that the Maoists replicating the Bihar-Jharkhand model might target the Railways in the state. The alert come days after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhisekh Banerjee said in an open meeting that top Maoist leader Kishenji was killed by his aunt’s government.

The report was sent to the state government on Friday. Previously on June 20, the railways have issued an intelligence advisory to the concerned authorities to take adequate preventive measures in the wake of a Maoist bandh call to check possible attack on railway properties in the region. Speaking to TOI, Divisional Railway Manager (Kharagpur Division), Raj Kumar Mangla said, “Security has been beefed up and we have taken all necessary and preventive steps to avoid any kind of subversive activities”. The report also says that crowded Howrah and Sealdah stations and the Metro Railway in the city were the most vulnerable targets.

According to the report sent to the state government the Maoists might not only target the railways but they might even choose soft targets like railway station including Sealdah, Howrah and metro stations. “We have decided to revive the process of running a pilot engine before the passing of an express or a mail train particularly in those areas that are considered to be vulnerable. At present we are in a process to identify the vulnerable zones and it will be completed very soon,” a senior railway official said.

On June 17 in a public meeting at Belpahari in West Midnapore district, Abhisekh told, “Earlier everyday in Jangalmahal people were killed. During the last four years there was only one murder. Mamata’s Government by killing Kishenji has proved that the people have the last word.” Just after Banerjee’s rally the Maoists issued a notification saying that in West Bengal, the party’s Eastern bureau has decided to reconstitute the state committee and the party has analysed the political situation in West Bengal and made a detailed plan to strengthen the organisation. The group has appointed Akash as the new state secretary of the reconstituted 21-member committee, but the leaders who are in jail have not been included in the committee.

Seven Live Rockets found on Railway Tracks near Shahbad Markanda Station in Haryana

Police and Army personnel inspect the live rockets found between Shahabad and Dola Majra railway stations
Police and Army personnel inspect the live rockets found between Shahabad and Dola Majra railway stations

Shahbad Markanda (SHDM): Seven live rockets were found on railway tracks on the busy Ambala-Delhi section near Haryana’s Shahbad town by children on Wednesday.

Police sources said the rockets were found enclosed in boxes on the tracks in the Ranjit Nagar village between the Shahbad railway station and the Dhola Mazra village in Kurukshetra district.

The children, who were playing near the railway tracks, spotted the boxes lying unattended. They opened one of the boxes and found live 51-mm mortal shells used in rocket launchers inside it.

Rockets2As they couldn’t figure out what exactly the contents were, the children abandoned the box and informed a railway keyman who was inspecting the tracks, said the sources.

Though the explosives could belong to the Army, which has a strong presence in the area, no one has claimed their ownership.

At least a dozen trains were held up for two- four hours before the rockets were removed from the tracks by noon and the whole area was sanitised for security reasons.

Among the affected trains were the Kalka-Delhi Shatabdi Express, the Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express, the Delhi-Amritsar Express, the Shan-e-Punjab Express and local passenger trains.

Rs.22 Crore paid as Compensation to 11/7 victims: WR officials

Mumbai: Western Railway (WR) will pay homage to those who lost their lives on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the serial blasts that ripped through the lifeline of Mumbai.

The railway authorities said Rs 22 crore has been disbursed so far as compensation to those affected by the blasts.

The blasts took place within minutes in fully-packed WR trains, killing 190 people and injuring over 700. The bombs were planted in first-class coaches.

“On this solemn occasion, wreaths will be placed at Matunga Road, Mahim, Bandra, Santacruz, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Bhayander railway stations by various senior railway officers in memory of the departed souls. Two-minute silence will also be observed at these stations,” said a WR release.

Railway authorities have already paid the ex-gratia and compensation to the next of kin of those who died in the blasts and those who were injured.

According to WR officials, they have disbursed over Rs 22 crore, including medical bills amounting around Rs 6.5 crore, so far. Besides this about 126 eligible next of kin of the victims were given jobs at n various posts, as per the railway policy.

Parag Sawant, who was injured in the blast at Bhayander, died at PD Hinduja Hospital in Mahim earlier this week. He was in a vegetative state for all these years.

No breakthrough in string of Threat Letter cases threatening to blow up Marudhaiyar Bridge

Tiruchchirapali (TPJ): A series of threat letters addressed to various railway station masters in Tiruchchirapali division over the past few months have kept the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) on their toes.

The recent letter which was received a couple of days ago by the Ariyalur station master yet again contained a message threatening to blow up the Marudhaiyar bridge.

Acting on a complaint, the Vriddhachalam police have launched a probe by booking a case.

This is the fourth time in the last six months that the GRP have come across such anonymous letters “targeting” the Marudhaiyar bridge in Ariyalur district.

Ever since a threat letter was received in early January, the GRP galvanised into action deploying beats to guard the Marudhaiyar bridge.

Since then, a team of GRP personnel have been posted in shifts to maintain vigil on the bridge as a precautionary measure.

This security move was put in place alongside launching investigations to track the “author” of the threat letters. Although teams carried sustained probe in a bid to narrow down on the accused, breakthrough continues to elude the investigators, acknowledge GRP officials.

Interestingly, in all the instances reported so far the threat letters were handwritten bearing the names of certain persons and that of a few photo studios in Tiruchi city including the latest one.

Although the threat letters have turned out to be hoax, the GRP have not taken them lightly and conducted sustained inquiries with many till date, say sources.

As part of their probe, the GRP matched the handwriting of certain suspects with that of the threat letters received. However, it did not tally till now, the sources said.

With no tangible clues coming forth regarding the “author” of the slew of threat letters, the string of cases continue to pose a real challenge to the investigators. Nevertheless, teams were on the job of looking out for the accused, says a senior officer.

Maoists blew up the Railway Track in Chhipadohar for want of RPF’s Heckler Weapons

Ranchi (RNC): Maoists engineered a mild explosion last night on railway tracks in Chhipadohar (CPDR) in Latehar district, during their 24-hour bandh, in the hope that the Railway police would rush in and be welcomed by high-intensity blasts and get on with the Heckler Weapons from the Railway police, but the forces side-stepped this trap.

What the police did was not take the special patrol train, which the rebels expected them to, but walk stealthily through Chhipadohar jungles from both ways, including a walk from four different directions within the jungle, and surround them, said ADG (Operations) and police spokesperson S.N.Pradhan.

“After the blast, the rebels asked railway employees why the police were not coming on a patrol special train. When the police arrived on foot, the waiting rebels, caught unawares, simply fled,” Pradhan said.

The 24-hour Maoist bandh in Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh to protest against the police gunning down 12 alleged rebels in Palamau on June 10, did affect the hinterland as well as long-distance trucks and buses.

But, as Pradhan pointed out: “Not a single policeman or civilian was hurt in the Maoist bandh yesterday, which in itself is a unique achievement in Jharkhand.”

Confirming all major rebel ploy to ambush the police were foiled yesterday, he elaborated on the blast near Chhipadohar halt.

“Last night, a low-intensity blast erupted on tracks near Chhipadohar halt. It derailed an engine and three bogeys of Palamau Express at 8.45pm, but the way the police outsmarted the waiting huddle of Maoists by reaching them on foot proves Maoists have run out of ideas at least in Jharkhand,” Pradhan said.

“Earlier, Maoists used to capture railway stations and paralyse signalling systems, which brought all trains to a grinding halt. This time, they couldn’t. They targeted a remote pocket like Chhipadohar, 10km from Barwaddih station in Latehar,” Pradhan said.

Dhanbad Superintendent of Railway Police Asim Vikrant Minz, under whose jurisdiction Chhipadohar falls, confirmed no passenger of Palamau Express was hurt. “The train was running very slowly when it was derailed. People came out and walked towards Barwaddih station.” But, he did admit between 50 and 60 metres of tracks on the Up line were damaged.

“Train services on the Up line are likely to be restored by this evening. We closed the Down line yesterday as a preventive measure but it remained unaffected and was opened today,” Minz said this afternoon over phone from Chhipadohar where he was personally supervising the work.

“Rebels used to cause high-intensity blasts on rail routes that blew off tracks and overhead high-tension wires, causing huge damage. Nothing as such happened now,” he said.

Ranchi rail division senior divisional commercial manager Neeraj Kumar said routes of three important trains, Jammu Tawi Express, Garib Rath Express and Varanasi Express, were diverted yesterday. “But, no train has been diverted or cancelled today,” he said.

Latehar SP Anoop Birtharay said the Chhipadohar blast bared frustrations within rebel ranks. “They don’t have public support anymore, ” he said.

However officials from the Intelligence Bureau said, the target of Maoists is to take away the Heckler Weapons from the Railway police.  However when their attempt to ambush the Railway police got foiled, they fled the scene.

Related Article:

Explosion on Rail Track derails Palamu Express in Dhanbad Division of Jharkhand, Maoists hand suspected

Chhipadohar (CPDR): In a suspected attack by Maoists, ultras blew up a section of rail track in Jharkhand on Tuesday evening, leading to derailment of an Express train. Palamau Express derailed this evening after suspected Maoists blew up a stretch of railway tracks in Latehar district but no casualty or injury was reported. The tracks were blown up at Chhipadohar in Latehar district of the tribal state minutes before Train no 13347 Palamu Express from Barkakana to Patna was to pass through from the stretch. The engine and three coaches of the train going from Barkakana to Patna jumped the rails following the blast, Chhipadohar railway station master R P Bhagotia said. Chhipadohar is less than 10 kms before Bharwadih junction. The driver of the train was unaware of the breach in the track, leading to the derailment of the passenger train. Initial reports suggest that three bogies of the train have derailed. However, there was no casualty or injury to any passenger due to the derailment, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Palamau Range) Saket Kumar Singh said. The station master said the blast occurred around 8 PM near Kuchila village between Chhipadohar and Barwadih stations. The CPI (Maoist) is observing a 24-hour bandh today in Bihar and Jharkhand to protest against the gunning down of their cadres in Palamau district on June 9. A source said over ten-meter stretch of the track on CIC section (Ranchi-New Delhi via Barkakana route) under Dhanbad division of the south eastern railway has been damaged. The incident has disrupted railway traffic on the crucial section. Several important trains are stranded at various railway stations. Chhipadohar is among the worst Maoist-hit areas where police fear to go at night. A police officer said the Maoists used improvised explosive device for the blast after which the train approached and detailed around 9pm. Jharkhand police spokesperson S N Pradhan said: “The exact damage is not known now. The forces have been sent to the spot.”

CBI launches probe into Shanti Express coach burning

Ahmedabad (ADI): Eleven years after a coach of Shanti Express caught fire at Gandhinagar railway station on November 1, 2004, the CBI in Delhi has launched an investigation into the incident.

CBI sources said they have submitted a FIR in the special CBI court in Ahmedabad last week with regard to the incident.

The burning of the coach had become a major issue. There is a conspiracy theory behind the burning of S6 coach of Sabarmati Express at Godhra in 2002 that which had drawn parallels with the Shanti Express burning. Even Justice (Retd) U.C.Banerjee Committee set up by the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to probe the Godhra incident had visited Gandhinagar to have a look at the burnt coach of Shanti Express.

An offence was registered with the Railway Police in 2004. Significantly, at that time the forensic report had ruled out sabotage and opined that the Gandhinagar fire was an accident possibly caused either by a cigarette or a bidi. However, CBI starting investigation into the matter after a gap of 11 years has raised many eye-brows.  Investigators have ruled out the opinion in the report who says that a cigarette or a bidi will not cause such a damage to a coach and there is a conspiracy behind it.

Highly place sources in the CBI said the investigation has already been launched and a team of CBI officials from Delhi will shortly visit Ahmedabad.

Siliguri: RPF on the NFR on high alert following Myanmar Ops

RPF inspects Siliguri Station
RPF officers in Siliguri Junction where empty barrels were kept on a platform

Siliguri (SGUJ): Following the successful Myanmar operation carried out by the Indian Army, the Railway Police Force (RPF) in West Bengal’s Siliguri District has tightened security and safety measures for railway passengers.

“Every time we have to be alert and we are trying to be alert. This is a continuous process and we do not compromise on security,” Mohd. Saquib, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, Katihar said.

Sniffer dogs were used to track down unwanted objects in the surroundings of the New Jalpaiguri Railway station.

The army on Tuesday engaged two separate groups of militants along the Indo-Myanmar border, inflicting significant casualties on them.

A statement from the Ministry of Defence said that the operations were necessary in light of intelligence reports, which warned of militants planning attacks on Indian soil. The statement further appreciated the cooperation shared between the armies of India and Myanmar, assuring that any security threat to the nation will be met with a ‘firm response’.

The action comes days after a militant ambush in Manipur, which led to the death of 18 army personnel and injured 11 others.

The ambush, which was one of the most deadly attacks in the region in recent years, occurred at around 8.30 am on June 4, when the army ‘s convoy was travelling between Paralong and Charong villages.

The central government later handed over the probe into the attacks to the National Investigation Agency.

“Encroachment is indeed a serious problem at railway stations. But the RPF will hold eviction drive only after discussing the matter with state government o officials as well as police.” said Saquib.

Some RPF officers accompanying Saquib said driving away encroachers and unauthorised vendors from railway land was always an ordeal for the force in Bengal. “Even in Bihar, we hardly face any political interference or restriction while evicting encroachers. But here in Bengal, the situation is different and we have to act accordingly,” said an RPF officer who didn’t want to be named.

“We have lost one of our jawans during an eviction drive at Malda Town station. Instead of asking police to go all out against the culprits, the Bengal chief minister tacitly passed on the buck to us. Hence, we are extra cautious now before conducting any eviction drive so that we are not blamed in case of any untoward incident,” he added. A day after RPF jawan Samarendra Samanta was killed, chief minister Mamata Banerjee told the Assembly that “the RPF did not inform us before evicting the hawkers,” implying that a central agency should inform the state in advance before undertaking any action that could create law-and-order problems.

“During a recent inspection, it came to my notice that even toy train tracks from Sukna to Darjeeling, which come under the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, are encroached. The encroachment is so rampant that even the movement of toy train is affected between Kurseong and Darjeeling. Its high time that the issue is solved seriously,” said the safety commissioner.

“In most cases, the encroachers are from outside and there are chances that miscreants will take shelters there,” he added.

Saquib said unauthorised vendors were occupying platforms as well. “Although railway platforms are entirely under the surveillance of the RPF and we are free to evict hawkers, we want to discuss with the state government and police before carrying out such missions,” Saquib said.

“Such eviction drives often impact law and order in localities around railway stations which are under the jurisdiction of state police. Hence, to hold eviction drive peacefully, we feel it is necessary to talk to state police and local administration,” he explained.

Saquib, however, refused to accept that the change in the RPF’s policy and plan to hold discussions with state government officials prior to eviction was a follow up move after the recent violence in Malda.

While inspecting Siliguri Junction station around 11am today, Saquib also expressed strong discontent over illegal parking and other lapses in security arrangements.

“Motorcycles parked in front of the main entrance are hindering the movement of passengers and officials. Unclaimed articles are also found in different locations and most importantly, most of the authorised vendors did not even wear uniforms. The door of the office of the commercial ticket inspector, where large amount of cash is kept, was open. Such matters are usually ignored but miscreants and extremists exploit such negligence,” he observed.

He directed the RPF officials and the station manager to look into these matters.

Railways ready to tackle extremist activities on tracks

Mughal Sarai (MGS): East Central Railway (ECR) is fully geared up to tackle extremists’ threat to railway tracks in the Maoist-dominated districts of Bihar, Mughalsarai DRM Vidya Bhushan said today. Admitting that extremists have several times in the past executed destructive plans, the Indian Railways are committed to stop the Naxal-nuisance on railway tracks. “We have made elaborate plan to prevent extemist activity on rail tracks”, he added.

He said in all stations falling under Mughalsarai division, night-patrolling of rail tracks by railway employees have been put in place. “At every railway station a keyman and a patrolling man regularly undertake patrolling of tracks. They have been given a special type of mobile phone and SIM card, free of network hassles”, Mr Bhushan added.

He noted that railwaymen on night patrol are in a position to communicate through SMS or voice log any kind of activity on railway tracks to their superiors. “Many a times we have been able to avert destructive activity on railway tracks on information provided by night patrol”, he stated.

Thanks to development of technology, now even the control room can get in touch with patrol persons whenever required, the DRM pointed out.

“One benefit of the system is that the railwaymen present at the nearest location can rush to the trouble spot and do the needful”, he added.

S.C.Railway Officers and Staff take ‘Anti-Terrorism Day’ Pledge

Secunderabad (SC): Anti-Terrorism Day was observed by South Central Railway today ie., 21st May, 2015 at its Zonal and Divisional Headquarters. At Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad, the Zonal Headquarters of SCR, Shri Umesh Singh, Additional General Manager, SCR administered the “Anti-Terrorism Day Pledge” to the officers and staff. The pledge reads as follows:-

“We the people of India, having abiding faith in our country’s tradition of non-violence and tolerance, hereby solemnly affirm to oppose with our strength, all forms of terrorism and violence. We pledge to uphold and promote peace, social harmony and understanding among all fellow human beings and fight the forces of disruption threatening human lives and values”.

Shri Umesh Singh, AGM South Central Railway seen administering Anti Terrorism Day pledge to railway staff
Shri Umesh Singh, AGM South Central Railway seen administering Anti Terrorism Day pledge to railway staff

GRP terms the blast in Kolkata Suburban Train an accident – 3 gangsters behind train rampage arrested

Kolkata (KOAA): Railway police have termed the blast on the Sealdah-Krishnagar local early on Tuesday “an accident”, based on a “reconstruction of events” following the arrest of three snatchers who they said had boarded the train to escape a crowd.

The crude bomb exploded during a scuffle over two stolen mobile phones, the police told the additional chief judicial magistrate of the Sealdah court while producing the arrested trio for remand.

Kana Bhola, alias Bhola Chowdhury, and his accomplice Saddam Sheikh were arrested near Bade Mastan Ghat after a series of raids through the night in Titagarh. The third accused, Rahul Das, was picked up in the Bowbazar neighbourhood of Titagarh, about 24km from Calcutta.

“We arrested the trio and reconstructed the series of events leading to the blast inside the compartment,” said Debashish Bej, superintendent of railway police, Sealdah.

The police said Bhola and his accomplices had boarded the train along with Raja Das, the local criminal who was among the 15 people injured in the blast. This version contradicts the accounts of many passengers who said they saw Bhola and his men get into a scuffle with Raja after finding him inside the compartment.

“Some people followed the snatchers into the compartment and surrounded Raja to get back the stolen mobile phones. Some passengers joined the crowd, at which the other members of the gang flashed their knives,” an officer of the Government Railway Police quoted Bhola as saying.

“There was a bomb in the bag Raja was carrying and it went off accidentally during the scuffle, ripping off a part of his right hand,” the officer said.

Bhola, the railway police said, also revealed during interrogation that two gangs from Titagarh, one under him and the other under Raja, would regularly snatch mobile phones from passengers on board local trains.

“Their areas of operation were between Kankurgachhi railway overbridge and Bidhannagar, Belghoria and Agarpara and Khardah and Barrackpore. The two gangs had met on Tuesday to sort out some issues about where they operate,” the police said.

The police produced two cheap mobile phones in court as “recovered items”.

According to passengers who were in the coach where the blast occurred, Bhola’s gang had boarded the train at Titagarh station and waited for it to move before asking some passengers to hand over their cash and valuables.

But when the gang spotted their rival Raja seated among the passengers, the plan took a different turn, they said.

As Bhola and an accomplice tried to rob a BSF jawan and his father, the other two members of the gang confronted their rival, the witnesses said.

BSF employee Alok Shil had his earphones plugged in when Bhola came up to him. His father Ratikanta said the leader of the gang asked his son to hand over his smartphone. Alok took off his earphones and was about to stand up when the goons went at him with a dagger, he said.

The BSF jawan held his attacker by the hand and suddenly there was an explosion two rows behind.

Alok’s grip loosened during the blast and one of the gang members knifed him in the head, his father said.

“My son slumped to the floor and the goons headed for the nearest exit,” Ratikanta said.

Sattu Mahato, whose wife Nandkumari Devi was critically wounded in the blast, contested the railway police’s version that anyone had confronted Raja and asked him to return two stolen mobile phones.

“I heard the gang speak to him and they were abusing each other. Although I don’t recall the entire conversation, it was definitely not about some passengers challenging one of them and asking him to hand back two stolen phones,” Mahato said. “I also heard a gang member asking another to hurl a bomb seconds before the blast.”

According to most witnesses, the focus of the goons who had boarded the Sealdah-Krishnagar local at 3.20am had shifted from robbery to Raja the moment they spotted him seated among the passengers.

Like Mahato, a co-passenger said he clearly heard a member of the gang shout: “Bombmaar, chaku ber kor (hurl a bomb, take our your daggers).”

Of the 15 people injured in the blast, the condition of three remained critical on Wednesday. Raja, a rag-picker turned snatcher and drugs dealer, is among those in the intensive care unit of BR Singh Hospital in Sealdah.

Mahato’s wife Nandkumari suffered burn and splinter injuries on her right hand, shoulder, neck, waist and hip areas.

Raja’s sister Rani said her sibling was a “small-time criminal” working with a gang of snatchers active in and around Titagarh. “On Tuesday, they had a fight over the share of spoils,” she said, standing outside BR Singh Hospital in Sealdah.

Bhola and Saddam were remanded in police custody for five days while Rahul was sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

The trio have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, carrying dangerous weapons and damage of railway and other government property.

Explosion in Suburban Local train injures 15 in West Bengal

Kolkata (KOAA): At least 15 persons were injured in an explosion inside a local train compartment on the Sealdah -Krishnanagar line in the early hours of Tuesday.

There were no casualties but six people suffered grievous injuries and had to be hospitalised.

Scuffle among miscreants

According to a press release issued by the Eastern Railway, the explosion occurred at 3.55 a.m. in the fifth compartment from the engine of Sealdah–Krishnanagar local soon after the train left the Titagarh station in North 24 Parganas district.

“From eyewitness accounts, we have come to know that that the crude bomb blast took place during a scuffle among some miscreants in the compartment. We are yet to ascertain the reason for the blast,” Superintendent of Railway Police, Sealdah, Debashish Bej told.

Some passengers claimed that it was an attempted robbery gone wrong and not a “gang war” as was claimed by some of the officials. The passengers got panicky, and some of them jumping off the train. Senior railway officials, including General Manager of Eastern Railway R. K. Gupta, visited the injured at B.R. Singh Railway Hospital in Kolkata.

‘Of low-intensity’

Describing the explosion as a low-intensity one, Mr. Gupta said that forensic tests were being conducted to determine its nature.

Passengers raise safety concerns after blast in train – ‘How are goons able to board train with bombs?’, they question

The bomb blast inside a local train between the Titagarh and Barrackpore stations on Tuesday morning, which left more than a dozen injured, has raised fresh questions over the security of passengers using railways for their daily commute. The explosion occurred on the busy Sealdah main line, used by lakhs of passengers everyday.

The relatives of those injured are surprised how miscreants carrying crude bombs were able to board a train. “My wife sustained serious injuries due to the bomb blast. I cannot understand how criminals can hurl bombs at each other inside a moving train,” Satto Mahato told .

Ratikanta Seal, whose son was injured during the blast, said: “ How are such goons able to board the train with crude bombs.”

“I have been associated with the Railways for 35 years. But I cannot recall any such blast inside a compartment,” Samir Goswami, a former Chief Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Railway told.

Describing the incident as “condemnable,” Mr. Goswami pointed out that even though the Railway Protection Force was responsible for the protection of Railway’s property, it could not prosecute people accused of crimes committed in a train or on Railway premises. “Law and order is State subject. The RPF can only apprehend such culprits and hand them over to the police,” he said.

2013 Chennai Central blasts: Still seeking closure

A nation-wide search is on for three members of the banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)

Chennai (MAS): A year after a low-intensity blast killed a young woman passenger and injured many others on the Bangalore – Chennai – Guwahati Express at Chennai Central Station, investigators are still on the hunt for the prime suspects.

While two of the five suspects were killed in an encounter with the Telangana police last month, a nation-wide search is on for the other three – members of the banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

CB-CID sleuths had managed to identify five suspects — Aijajudeen, Mehboob Guddu, Zahir Hussain Sadiq, Amzad and Mohammed Aslam — after some passengers of the train recalled spotting at least two of them in a reserved compartment a couple of hours before the blast.

In October 2013, they had escaped from a Madhya Pradesh prison and were involved in a bank robbery and dacoity. On April 5, Aijajudeen alias Aizaz and Mohammed Aslam alias Bilal were gunned down by the Telangana police in Nalgonda district after they shot dead a police constable and attempted to flee. Police are having a tough time tracking down the other three suspects.

Trajectory of TerrorThe blast was an eye-opener for the security agencies and Southern Railway too. Southern Railway announced that the first working day of May will be observed as ‘Swathi Day’. Rakesh Mishra, then general manager, had said the day should inspire railmen to rededicate themselves to passenger security.

The blasts also led to the stepping up of security measures at Central and other important stations. Security arrangements at all entry points have been intensified and the luggage of most passengers is now screened. “We ensured that commuters entered the premises through one door frame metal detector and got out through another. Dog squads were brought in to detect explosives. We will add 50 more CCTV cameras in the station. As of now, there are over 80,” an official said.

DMRC says not having Dustbins at stations prevents Terror Attacks; Delhi HC not convinced

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday told the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) that not having dustbins on metro platforms due to fear of bomb blasts was a very myopic view of security since airports and even railway stations have garbage bins.

The court, which directed the DMRC to examine viability of having spittoons and dustbins on the stations, also asked whether drinking water and toilet facilities were easily available to commuters. “Don’t you have dustbins at airports and bus stations? Can you protect people by not having dustbins? This is a very myopic view of security,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher said.

The court then directed the DMRC to indicate on an affidavit how many toilets and drinking water facilities are available at the metro stations and whether the amenities are generally accessible to commuters. “Show me that the toilets are available and can be easily accessed. Not telling you to redraw your stations,” the court said to DMRC.

The court also issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government and the DMRC, seeking their replies by August 11, the next date of hearing. The orders and observations came on plea of Kush Kalra, a metro commuter who has sought directions to the DMRC to provide safe drinking water, toilets and dustbin facilities to the passengers of Delhi metro.

Advocate Kush Sharma, appearing for Kalra, argued in court that if a commuter was only travelling with a metro card and no money, then he or she will not get a drop of water to drink at any of the stations for free and alleged this was discrimination between those who have money and those who do not.

The court also refused to accept the DMRC’s argument that the non-availability of toilet and water facilities at all stations is due to the reason that journey on the metro is for short duration.

Godhra Sabarmati Express burning case: Gujarat HC reserves Order on appeals

Ahmedabad (ADI): The Gujarat High Court today reserved its order on the appeals filed in the 2002 Godhra train burning case.

Arguements of defence and the prosecution agency special investigation team before the division bench of Justices Anant Dave and G R Udhvani ended today.

On February 27, 2002, S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was set on fire near Godhra station, killing 59 people, most of them karsevaks, and sparking state-wide riots in which over 1,200 persons perished.

The defence has relied, among other things, on the “loopholes” in the evidence of forensic experts. While SIT has relied upon testimonies of witnesses and forensic reports as well.

P R Patel, the judge of the special trial court, had on February 22, 2011 convicted 31 persons for murder and criminal conspiracy. Eleven of them were sentenced to death while others were awarded life imprisonment.

Defence lawyer Nitya Ramkrishnan today pointed out “loopholes” in the theory of forensic experts as to how the S-6 coach may have caught fire. She also accused SIT of “dishonest investigation”.

According to eye-witnesses, burning rags were thrown inside the coach. However, many of these witnesses also said that those rags were put out by passengers while the FSL experts suggested that the rags led to the fire, she said.

SIT did not find any more fact other than those found by the police earlier. Nor did it consider the evidenciary value of a sting operation by journalist Ashish Khetan (now an AAP leader), whereas in Naroda Patiya riot case, conviction was based on the same sting operation, she said.

The sting had some of the key witnesses confessing to having accepted bribes from investigators to make certain statements.

Lashkar-e-Taiba planning 26/11 like attack on Mumbai; Security stepped up, CR, WR sounds High Alert

Mumbai: Security across Mumbai has been beefed up after an intelligence alert about a possible attack by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on railway stations and other prominent locations.

A circular issued by the state intelligence department on Monday stated an attack could be carried out by a group of eight to 10 Pakistanis operatives of the LeT any time during the next three months.

The alert came close on the heels of LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, being released from a high security jail in Rawalpindi on the orders of a Pakistani court. The Islamabad high court on Monday gave a two-month deadline for completing the Mumbai attacks trial and said it would cancel Lakhvi’s bail if the proceedings were not completed within this period.

The circular, a copy of which was accessed, stated the attackers, likely to be fidayeens, might travel to Mumbai by sea and be assisted by local handlers. The alert further mentioned that the possible attack could be similar to the 26/11 strike that left 166 people dead and several hundreds injured.

Following the alert, the Government Railway Police (GRP) issued a circular to all 17 railway police stations in Mumbai, directing officials to step up security at railway stations.

Every railway station has multiple entry and exit points and officials were asked to keep a watch on any suspicious activity.

GRP officials were asked to work in close coordination with their counterparts in the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and seek their help to put in place watertight security cover.

“GRP commissioner Ravinder Singal issued a circular on Saturday to all railway police stations to conduct regular checks on railway premises and co-ordinate better with the Railway Protection Force. In-charges of police stations have been told to conduct meetings for sensitizing staff. Canine squads will also be pressed into action,” a GRP spokesperson said. “Multiple entries and exits at railway stations will be watched. Passengers will be adviced to report any suspicious activity to the helpline immediately.

Sources in security establishment said the wing of the LeT responsible for sea-borne attacks is headed by Abu Yakub. The module is called “ice cube” and Yakub is responsible for all sea-borne attacks, including the 2008 assault on India’s financial hub. However, even after the 2008 attacks, Yakub has not been prosecuted and continues to operate from Karachi in Pakistan, the sources claimed.

Railway intensifies patrolling on trains in Tamil Nadu

Patrolling in trains and stations has been intensified as summer vacations have begun and passenger traffic has increased more on the trains, Tamil Nadu railway police (TRP), DIG, R Baskaran said while inspecting the Madurai TRP unit on Monday.

Talking to reporters after the inspection, Baskaran said that along with regular railway police, they have roped in 400 personnel from five companies of battalion police from various places to provide security in trains. Four to five police personnel will keep vigil in the trains and ensure that doors of all coaches are locked during the journey. The policemen in coaches will open the doors in next stations, he said.

Based on previous records, selected stations like Katpadi, Salem, Jolarpet, Trichy and Villupuram stations have been brought under extra surveillance and crimes have drastically fallen in these stations in the last 25 days. It was found that on board theft in trains were carried out by groups from northern and eastern part of India and Ranchi in Jharkhand has been identified as the hub for the operation of these gangs.

A hunt was taken out for the kingpin, Hari Anand Prasad and his accomplices were arrested. The properties of Prasad have also been confiscated. They also nabbed another notorious woman robber, Meena Kumari from Andhra Pradesh recently and properties have been recovered from her, Baskaran said. He also said that passengers can file complaints while on trains also with the police personnel in the coaches, or through railway police emergency helpline number 1512. Railway police sources said that inspection by DIG is a routine one during regular intervals.

RPF restrict entry of hawkers at CST

RailNews had earlier reported as to how the hawkers at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station have encroached on railway property despite  a notice prohibiting them from doing so. However, now the railway premises  is totally free from the hawker menace. RailNews correspondent  visited the area and observed that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials have been stationed to ensure that there is no encroachment now.

Speaking to RailNews, Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner of RPF said, “We are taking strict measures in order to ensure that no hawkers encroach the area anymore. I have personally deployed staff to ensure that no hawking should be done in the railway premises. If I still find hawkers in our railway premises, then punitive action against the concerned officer would be taken immediately.”

IR need Comprehensive Review of Information vulnerabilities in Communication Systems, Servers & Data Centres

New Delhi:   When a Station Master of Indian Railways from Punjab got a genuine-sounding call from an Indian Army officer in the recent past, he never imagined the caller would in fact be a Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO). The Station Master passed on the information the caller, who he thought had dialled from the Army headquarters in Delhi, asked for, which pertains to a train movement carrying Army personnel to J&K! The imposter had a free run until it was detected that the call came from Pakistan. This incident sent alarm bells ringing, but the top brass of India’s elite intelligence wing was not amused. Reason: the officials had encountered similar situations in the past as well.

This reminds us the deadly head-on collision of Brahmaputra Mail and Assam-Awadh Express at about 1.30a.m. on 2 August, 1999, when the Awadh Assam Express from New Delhi was stationary at the station, the Brahmaputra Mail from Dibrugarh, packed with soldiers and security personnel heading for the border regions at a very high speed of 130 KMPH was transferred onto the same track of the other train. Nobody noticed the error on either train, or in the signals office, until the Brahmaputra Mail train crashed headlong into the front of the Awadh Assam Express. The engine of the Awadh Assam was thrown high in the air, and passengers from both trains were blown into neighbouring buildings and fields by the force of the explosion. Inquiry Commission constituted by Indian Railways although concluded that the concerned railwaymen had 20 minutes time to avoid the accident which occurred due to error in operation and was a case of negligence of duty, the other side of the rumors cite a conspiracy behind the disaster. The official death toll released was set at 1000 or even more. Worst part is, because of the nature of the crash and fire the bodies could not even be identified properly; and 90% of whom are from the Armed Forces.  The station master of Gaisal station later committed suicide, unable to bear the trauma, psychological imbalance, prolonged inquiries and the disciplinary actions instigated against him.

Although such an attempt is akin to firing a shot in the dark, it is one of the most commonly used tricks of the trade to con gullible people into parting information.  Be it what it may, the crux of the situation is, supposing that this is a conspiracy, then how the information is leaked to anyone about movement of armed forces in train, and this reminds us the vulnerabilities in the functioning of railway system – be it at individual level or systems level – in whichever case, such an incidents have to be averted.

As regards the information vulnerabilities and data thefts, needless to mention that the anti-virus software in various PCs across the Indian Railways have not yet been updated, leave alone gross failure to prevent malware and spoofing from corrupting the systems in Railway offices all over.  Spoofing is a way of concealing one’s real identity and assuming a fake one. What caught the attention of the intelligence officials was the level of penetration that foreign spooks were able to do this.  In an another instance, it is reportedly learnt that last year, a series of emails were exchanged between the PIO agent and an unsuspecting Railway employee which culminated in installation of malware on Railway servers. Apparently, Railways hosts India’s largest logistics sector of the country under one umbrella. Spoofing is a routine exercise, but this particular incident was unique and generated much attention. The spooks managed to install a malware that corrupted some data,” says a top-ranking official who was part of the crack team that attended to the situation.  He adds the malware was flushed out but not before it caused limited damage. “It could have been worse.”

Even as the security establishment was still grappling with the Station Master incident, two days later a similar attempt was made on the elite National Security Guard (NSG). The PIOs had ostensibly called the agency headquarters in New Delhi to elicit information about the movement of its commandos in the wake of the Hyderabad serial blasts that killed 16 people and injured 117 on February 21. That day, the agency’s blast assessment team left Delhi on a special aircraft at 9.30 PM and reached Hyderabad after two hours.

In the ensuing months, more such incidents came to light. One report suggested the President’s Secretariat was spoofed. With these incidents becoming a regular affair, they also exposed the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to such attacks. Eventually, it forced the sparring but Technical and IT Arms of Railways like CRIS/RailTel/IRCTC/EDPM Centers on various Zonal/Divisional/Production Plants on Indian Railways to reconcile under one roof to find a solution.

Recently National Security Advisor (NSA) in one such brainstorming meeting with Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research & Analysis Wing (RA&W), Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT)-India, National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), Defence Forces, DRDO Hqrs and the Department of Telecommunication (DoT), at one point, the top brass conceded and minuted that the Indian Railways servers and data centres are not only being targeted from outside, but can also be used to carry out attacks and hence an Advisory Note is being prepared and sent to Railway Board as a precautionary measure.

IB and RAW had earlier pointed out that during 2011, DRDO officials from Sena Bhavan Headquarers had gone for inspection of the Network Operations Centre of RailTel – a Telecom PSU under Ministry of Railways who have provisioned a number of high bandwidth links to DRDO and various other organisations like NIC, Banks, Defence, NKN etc and surprisingly found that some Chinese Engineers were deployed in RailTel NOC as part of the maintenance and management of STM-16 rings provided by M/s WRI (a Chinese Telecom OEM) for having supplied, installed and commissioned STM-16 equipments in the longhaul OFC communication network of RailTel on the Eastern Region of the Indian Railways covering approximately 10-11 states, and are managing it.  DRDO officials have asked for immediate removal of Chinese Engineer at NOC level and accordingly RailTel had taken corrective steps and informed the same to DRDO in writing.  IB and RAW hinted of such vulnerabilities in other organisations like IRCTC/CRIS/EDP Centers and Railway Board needs to also be identified and fixed immediately.

In fact, such incidents are on the rise. For instance, open proxy server systems, which are used to bypass network controls, have registered a significant growth. CERT-In identified 2,987 open proxy servers in 2012, up from 2,826 in 2011.  Later on, around 2,500 have been identified till February this year.  These proxy servers are a major source of spam on the Internet and are used to attack other servers as well.

Government officials pin the blame on the vulnerable anti-virus solutions for failing to prevent malware from corrupting the system. “National Informatics Centre (NIC) brought out that Servers are client-based. Commercial anti-virus solutions are either not updated or not effective, home grown trusted solutions is an emerging need. The case of Linux-based machines is even more problematic and upload of web shell can’t be detected.

Almost all the anti-viruses have weakness and limitations, the security demands of government and private individuals are different and should not be equated. Jiten Jain, a cyber expert and researcher on Chinese spyware, says most of the anti-virus programs are not of much help. They can only ward off threats, which are already identified. What if a new malware is generated using new codes or signatures every time? Then there is no central repository of threats detected by each individual software provider. The companies do not share data with one another,” he says.

Lack of trusted indigenous products has further compounded the problem.

According to Akash Agarwal, country head of EC-Council, which certifies course in ethical hacking, hardly anybody in the country is making anti-virus software. “Indians do it for other countries. There is no guarantee the foreign service provider will not override the systems in guise of anti-virus. There has to be people who can cater to demands of government.”

In fact, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) – Hyderabad has developed a malware detection system and it is undergoing logical tests. The government expects that once the system is in place, it will boost India’s cyber protection capability manifold.

Jagannath Patnaik, Director (Channel Sales-South Asia) at Kaspersky Lab, however tries to dismiss apprehensions about anti-virus companies. “We have the fastest updates in the industry and Kaspersky Lab’s response time to threats is much quicker than the competition. Any standard anti-virus program would need at least four hours to block the more than 200,000 malicious programs that emerge every day,” he says in an email response.

Around 30 anti-virus brands operate in India with a market size of nearly $300 million. However, this is not sufficient. On May 2, the government agreed that there is a need of hardening the NIC networks, which host almost all government and state websites.

At the same meeting, the deputy NSA directed the NTRO and CERT-In, both of which have the mandate to mitigate cyber threats and launch investigations, to share details of malware detection with other agencies.

IB has also issued an alert against all-out attempts of PIOs to scoop information from India’s defence establishments and other strategic organisations. It believes PIOs have employed the twin strategy of spoofing and snooping by installing malware.

The Inter State Intelligence (ISI) operatives are targeting the Indian Railways, banks, and serving and retired employees and civil contractors working for Military Engineering Services (MES) to collect sensitive and defence-related information”. “They (PIOs) have also been making telephone calls under assumed identities by using spoofed numbers to various CPMFs (central paramilitary forces), Railways, banks etc. They (PIOs) have succeeded in ferreting out sensitive information from the persons attending these calls. IB has been regular in highlighting the stratagem of PIOs using fake identities.

Senior officials in the Union home ministry say they regularly issue circulars about do’s and don’ts to government employees from sharing sensitive information with others. In one of these circulars, the home ministry advises government officials not to use telephone systems which are exposed to the external environment, mobile or any other type, for dissemination of classified nature.

The government believes heightened awareness among its staff could be the only effective way to counter attempts of foreign agencies.

  • Instructions to government officials on sharing information over telephone calls against the backdrop of spoofing and espionage.
  • Telephone systems, which have any part of their network exposed to external environment, should not be used to disseminate classified information.
  • Classified Information should be restricted to organisation’s own secure internal communication network.
  • Telephone instruments should have the facility to identify the caller.
  • As information security principle, confidential matter should never be discussed or transacted over phone. If circumstances necessitate, persons attending to a telephone call should identify the caller beyond all reasonable doubt before parting information.
  • In case, the identity of the caller is not established beyond all reasonable doubt, the person should be asked for his contact details.
  • The contact details should be immediately verified by calling back, as the most effective countermeasure.
  • If the caller tries to give reasons that only he can contact the recipient of the call due to technical reason. It should raise the strong suspicion that is a spoofed call.
  • If it comes to the notice that intruder has managed to secure information, the matter should be immediately reported to seniors for remedial measures.

Engine derails as Maoists damage Railway track in Chhattisgarh

The derailed engine lies next to the track near Kamalur station in Dantewada district of Bastar, Chhattisgarh
The derailed engine lies next to the track near Kamalur station in Dantewada district of Bastar, Chhattisgarh

कमलूर Kamalur (KMLR): The outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) damaged a railway track near Kamalur station in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on Thursday, leading to the derailment of a goods train engine.

The driver and helper of the engine suffered minor injuries in the accident.

The Maoists have called for a ‘Dandakaranya Bandh’ on Friday in protest against the Polavaram Dam project and the “All-out war” by the Government of India to “flush out Maoists from Bastar.”

“The Polavaram Dam project will displace 2.5 lakh Dorla Tribals from different parts of Bastar and Telangana. To oppose this project, our Central Regional Bureau has called for Dandakaranya Bandh on February 20. We appeal to the people of Telangana, Orrisa and Dandakaranya to observe strict bandh on February 20,” said Ganesh Uike, Secretary of the South Regional Committee (SRC) of the CPI (Maoist) in a statement.

In an effort to enforce the bandh, the ultras damaged the railway track.

Accusing the State police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) of “oppressing and harassing” the Tribals of Bastar in the name of “anti-Maoist operations,” the Maoist leader also claimed that the police arrested three “workers” of the CPI(Maoist) on February 5 from Kotrapal village in Bijapur district.

“Mallesh, Podyami Sukhram and Madavi Lachhu were picked up by police from their homes. All three are being tortured inhumanly in police custody and are being forced to join police as ‘Gopniya Sainik’ (secret agents). We demand that all three be produced before the court immediately,” the SRC secretary said.

The Maoist leader also accused the police of arresting two villagers from Bodali village in Bijapur and not disclosing it to the media.

“Police and CRPF are going on rampage in many Bijapur villages. People from interior villages are scared to go to market places because common villagers are being arrested as ‘Warrantee Maoists’ and are being forced to surrender,” Ganesh Uike said while expressing solidarity with the teachers, laborers and Anganwadi workers of Chhattisgarh.

Maoists blow up Railway Tracks near Telo Station on Dhanbad Division

Damaged Track near Telo Rly Stationटेलो Telo (TELO): Maoists blew up railway tracks and damaged a dozen sleepers of Down line near Telo railway station under the Dhanbad rail division, shortly after midnight on Wednesday-Thursday. The incident occurred around 2.30 am. There are no reports of any casualty as no one was present nearby area during the blast. The Maoists act disrupted the rail traffic on the Gomoh-Barkakana route for 6 hours .The traffic on the route was disrupted till 7.30 am on Thursday on the up and down line,” said railway sources.

Villagers helped stave off a major tragedy when they promptly alerted the railways about a Maoist explosion on tracks on the edge of a rail bridge over river Damodar between Telo and Gomoh stations, 60km from Bokaro steel city, under Dhanbad railway division in the wee hours of today.

The impact of the blast was quite severe .About five meters of the Down track got twisted and bumped up five feet. The OHE (Over Head Equipment) too got damaged, leading to the stranding all passangers and goods trains on the Gomoh-Barkakana section. About 30 to 50 CPI (Maoists) guerrillas raided the Telo railway station,near Jamunia bridge ,under the Dhanbad rail division around 1 am on Thursday and had planted a landmine near pole no 4/22 on the UP, railway track, between Gomoh-Telo railway station and triggered a blast through a detonator kept about 50 meters away in a nearby forest, sources said .

The incident occurred on a day the extremist outfit was observing a bandh in Jharkhand and Bihar in protest against the Centre’s policies, including the recent land ordinance. The 2.20am explosion on Jamunia rail bridge that falls along Bokaro-Chandrapura-Telo-Gomoh route under CIC section left more than five feet of railway tracks gaping open on both Up and Down lines and could have caused passing trains to fall in the river below if the local residents had not acted on time.

The railways stopped movement of trains on the route, leading to major disruptions for over six hours. Several trains, including New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express, Sampark Kranti Express, Patna Jan Shatabdi Express, Tata-Amritsar Express and Mumbai-bound Lokmanya Tilak Express, were delayed.

Movement of trains resumed at 9am only after the breached tracks were repaired however further repairs are on in the adjoining bank. But complete traffic had been restored late this afternoon .  Down trains for Barkakana would run as scheduled after 8 am, confirmed Railway officials. The Chanderpura RPF and GRP arrived at the spot only after the rebels had left. The ultras shouted antipolice slogans and left a pamphlets owning responsibility for the explosion.

A combing operation has been launched in the area to nab the ultras. Heavy reinforcement of the district police ,the GRP ,and the RPF had been deputed at Telo railway station .Earlier Bokaro and Dhanbad police top officials arrived at the spot and took stock of the situation. Several trains remained stranded at different places and movement on the CIC section was restored by single line service .However, the movement would be normalised by both up and down late in this afternoon, railway sources said. About two month ago ,the CPI (Maoist) activists had targeted railway track near the Bokaro railway station.

Bokaro SP Jitendra Singh, who, along with CRPF jawans and district policemen, rushed to the site in the morning, said: “A few villagers living nearby spotted around two dozens armed men moving along the tracks suspiciously in the dead of night. Soon thereafter, they heard an explosion on the tracks around 2.20am and alerted Chandrapura railway police. The Maoists left behind a huge banner.

Elsewhere in the state, the 24-hour bandh remained largely peaceful. There was no report of untoward incident from Naxalite-affected districts like Palamau, Garhwa, Latehar and Gumla.

Banks, post offices, business establishments and educational institutions functioned normally in various district headquarters. These services were, however, partially affected in remote places. Long-distance buses did not ply and marketplaces wore a deserted look.

Western Railway GRP, RPF to jointly start track patrolling during nights

वडोदरा Vadodara (BRC): The narrow escape for Pune-Indore Express near Palej in Bharuch past midnight on Tuesday has given a wake-up call to the railway authorities. The railways may soon start patrolling on the railway tracks in the region. Vadodara railway in-charge superintendent of police (SP), S S Baranda said that he has discussed the issue of track patrolling with the railway administration.

“We will start track patrolling in the region again. The incidents of concrete sleepers being put on railway tracks is happening only in Vadodara region. I have talked with the railway protection force (RPF) and DRM for starting joint patrolling on the tracks in Vadodara region,” Baranda told. The railway authorities have registered a complaint against unidentified persons at the Bharuch police station.

“We suspect that the accused may have placed the sleeper to derail the train and loot the passengers. Or maybe it was an act of sabotaging the train. We are conducting investigations from all the angles but we don’t have suspicion on any particular gang,” Baranda added.


Aug 22, 2014: Unidentified miscreants had placed a 1.6 metre long iron rod on railway track near Vadodara railway station. A major incident was averted as the driver of Mumbai-bound Saurashtra Mail instantly applied brakes after spotting the iron rod.

Oct 27, 2014: Passengers of Shanti Express which runs from Gandhinagar to Indore had a narrow escape at near Champaner railway station when the train’s engine dashed with a concrete sleeper which was kept on the railway track.

Feb 4, 2015: Engine of the Pune-Indore Express dashes with a concrete sleeper kept on railway track at near Palej railway station near Bharuch. Engine’s cattle guard gets badly damaged due to the incident.

Delhi Metro to partially curtail Train Services on January 25-26

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The Delhi Metro services will be partially curtailed on January 26 as part of security arrangements for Republic Day, an official statement said on Friday.

Additionally, all Metro parking lots will remain closed from 6 am on January 25 until 2 pm on January 26.

According to a Delhi Metro statement, while the entry and exit at the Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan Metro stations will remain closed from 6 am to 12 pm, the entry and exit at Patel Chowk and Race Course stations will be closed from 8.45 am to 12 pm

“Central Secretariat station will only be used for interchange of passengers between Line 2 (HUDA City Centre to Jahangirpuri) and Line 6 (Mandi House to Badarpur),” the statement said.

The Mandi House and Pragati Maidan Metro stations will also be closed for public for one hour between 10.45 am and 11.45 am.

“From 10.45 am up to 11.45 am, trains will run in three short loops on the corridors between Noida City Centre to Indraprastha, Vaishali to Yamuna Bank and Dwarka Sector 21 to Barakhamba Road stations on Line 3 (Dwarka Sector 21 – Noida City Centre) and Line 4 (Vaishali to Yamuna Bank),” the statement said.

Ahead of Obama’s visit, Live Cartridges seized from Welcome Metro Station; three held

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Special Investigation Cell of Delhi Police has arrested three persons and recovered over 1000 live cartridges from them, a development which could raise security concerns ahead of Republic Day celebrations where US President Barack Obama is the chief guest.

“We have arrested three men and recovered 1,020 live cartridges from them. The arrests were made from near Welcome metro station here,” said Special Commissioner (Special Cell) S N Shrivastava.

The arrested men did not reveal anything during the interrogation so far but security agencies have taken this development seriously and have further strengthened precautionary measures to avoid any untoward situations.

Those arrested have been identified as Mohd Imraan, a resident of Sitapur, Mohd.Sharik, a resident of Meerut, and Mohd.Faheem, a resident of Uttarakhand.

Further investigations are underway, police said.

Mysuru on high alert after terror attack in Bangalore

Security was increased at the City Central Railway Station in Majestic in Bengaluru on Monday following the bomb blast on Sunday at Church Street. (Right) A sniffer dog checks the bag of a passenger at the railway station
Security was increased at the City Central Railway Station in Majestic in Bengaluru on Monday following the bomb blast on Sunday at Church Street. (Right) A sniffer dog checks the bag of a passenger at the railway station

मैसूर Mysuru (MYS): The terror attack in Bengaluru has set off alarm bells in Mysuru where tourists have been arriving in droves for the New year and Christmas season. The police is on high alert to make sure that the festive mood is not interrupted.

The city’s tourist inflow which is usually 5000 on week days and over 10,000 on the weekends and general holidays, has crossed 20,000 during the last week of December, with many arriving for the “December to Remember” festival launched for the first time this year.

With large crowds thronging the city, the police is keen to ensure there is no cause for worry. DCP Rajanna says although there have been no threat calls or threat perceptions related to terror attacks in Mysuru, the police is on high alert in view of the terror attack in Bengaluru.

“Two bomb disposal squads have thoroughly checked all the tourist spots and bus and railway stations in the city. Tourists are being scanned through door frame metal detectors at important destinations like Chamundi Hills, the zoo and Mysuru palace.

And Garuda and PCR vehicles are on the lookout for any unattended baggage that may be lying around. We also have a 50 strong commando force and 200 men trained for the Karnataka State Industry Security Force for use in emergencies,” he added.

Meanwhile, Monday evening saw the 34- member Keriyak rock band of Sweden hit the floor in a mega carnival that wound its way through the streets, mesmerising tourists and Myureans.

Led by the Mysuru Police Band, the carnival had people dressed as Santa clause, Donald ducks, Mickey mouse and other cartoon characters greeting children lining the roads.

Starting from the Mysuru Palace, the carnival went past the Palace North Gate, Chamaraja Circle, KR Circle, Devraj Urs road, Deputy Commissioner’s office before culminating at the Oval Ground.

Mumbai City & Railway Police sounds High alert, Security beefed up

मुंबई Mumbai: Mumbai Police has sounded a high alert in the financial capital and stepped up security in the run up to the New Year celebrations following a bomb blast in Bengaluru.

City and Railway police forces are on their toes to prevent and counter any act of crime or terror during the New Year eve celebrations.

“We raised the security threat alert levels against the backdrop of Bangalore blast and a high alert has been sounded.

A tighter surveillance will be in place. The emphasis will be on prevention of terror activities and the security of women, especially at night,” Dhananjay Kulkarni, Deputy Police Commissioner (Spokesperson) said.

Following the directives of Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, all the police stations, crime branch and special units have been conducting combing and search operations of shady lodges, rental houses in slum pockets and congested areas, police said.

“We have cancelled the leaves of all policemen. About 70 per cent of the 46,000-strong force will be deployed specially to ensure safety and security on December 31st night,” the DCP added.

Besides the city police, 20 platoons of the SRPF and 1,100 homeguards, including officers, will be on the streets guarding the city, he added.

Revellers are expected at the Gateway of India, Girgaon Chowpatti, Marine Drive, Worli Seaface for the celebrations, police said, adding that watchtowers will be erected at the beaches while various places were already illuminated for the convenience of people.

At some of the places in the city, where people gather in large numbers to celebrate the New Year, police have planned to segregate family and women crowd from the rest.

“Special enclosures will be erected for women & family members; and male revellers at the Gateway of India, Girgaon Chowpatty and Juhu where huge crowds are expected to congregate to welcome the New Year. Special control rooms will be set up at these places to keep a watch on unruly revellers through the CCTVs,” the DCP added.

NSG mock drill at Dumdum Metro station

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA): Past midnight on Tuesday, the Dumdum Metro station turned into a hub of activity. Men in black, armed to the teeth with sophisticated weapons and modern gadgets required for Close Quarter Battle (CQB) in an urban scenario, rushed into the platform to neutralize a terror strike. The ‘terrorists’ weren’t easy to take down. After all, they were as well trained as those who stormed the station to thwart their efforts. Several attempted strikes followed and were countered. This continued till the early hours of Wednesday.

Dumdum is one of two stations in the Metro Railway stretch that are linked to the Eastern Railway’s suburban network and handles lakhs of commuters everyday. No wonder, this was the station the National Security Guard (NSG) selected as the location for a mock drill in the Metro network that started from Tuesday. This drill has been held in the Metro after a year. The drill was an extremely hush-hush affair and save for a few, even Metro officials weren’t allowed access to the station while it was underway.

“The primary responsibility of the NSG hub at Badu near Kolkata is to handle any terror strike in the region. The Metro is a location that a terror outfit may target as it is crowded throughout the day and all movement takes place in confined space. More importantly, any terror strike on the Metro will provide significant publicity that is ‘Oxygen’ for terror outfits. Such a strike would also have a lasting effect on the population as the Metro is considered the lifeline of the city. It is part of our job to carry out mock drills at all installations that may be possible targets. This helps us prepare for any eventuality. We have been insisting for drills at Metro stations for quite some time now. Such drills were held a year ago. Much has changed since then,” a source in the NSG said.

All that he would reveal is that the NSG contingent split into two halves. While one group played terrorists, the other did their best to thwart the attempts. Several possibilities were tried out. As is common during such drills, the ‘terrorists’ were led by the most-experienced Black Cat commandos. They did their best to make it as difficult as possible for the rescuers.

40 Railway Stations on red-radar: Intelligence Bureau

बोकारो Bokaro: Forty railway stations on Grand Chord and Coal India Chord (CIC) sections under Dhanbad division of East Central Railway are on Naxalite hit list, Intelligence Bureau (IB) reported to the Union home ministry in the wake of rebel attacks on tracks on October 20 and 21.

The IB report assumes significance in poll-bound Jharkhand, where back-to-back attacks at Daniya and near Jarangdih have exposed security lacunae.

The IB red alert names Phusro, Bhandardih, Gomia, Dumri, Dania, Jageshwar Bihar, Chainpur, Barkakana, Tori, Chetar, Richukota, Latehar, Khelari, Barwadih, Hehegarha, Chepadohar, Daltonganj, Nagar Utari, Raman, Koshiyara, Haidarganj, Meral, Singrauli, Baaskatwa and Lalbagh on the CIC section; and Gomoh, Choubey, Koderma, Chandrapura, Bholidih, Hazaribagh Road, Keshwari, Parsabad, Maanpur, Parasnath, Chachaki, Gajhandih, Gurupaa, Paharpur and Bandhua on the Grand Chord line.

Bokaro SP Jitendra Singh said tracks of the CIC section that fell under Bokaro district did not have a parallel road. “It’s a hilly and densely forested zone and trains are the commuting lifeline. It gives Maoists geographical and psychological edge, which is why they target these tracks,” he said.

He added Naxalites had high stakes here. “There’s big money in freight zones. Contractors and transporters pay levy to rebels to operate their business smoothly,” he said.

The IB report added that as levy ran to crores each month, it made business sense to the rebels to keep security forces feeling constantly insecure.

Former IG of North Chotanagpur Laxman Singh, who resigned from IPS three days ago to join the BJP, said: “Naxalites have a big presence in the CIC section as geographical conditions make permanent security postings tough. Till parallel roads come up, vigilance and intelligence network should be the focus.”

Naxals blast Rail track again, this time near Bokaro Thermal

जरंगदीह Jarangdih (JAN):  Maoists yet again targeted railway tracks in Bokaro district, blowing up a 3-metre stretch between Jarangdih and Bokaro Thermal stations under CIC section of Dhanbad railway division just when their 24-hour bandh ended on Monday midnight.  CPI (Maoists) cadres blasted a section of the single line railway track near Barwabera area falling between Bokaro Thermal and Jarangdih stations of the Dhanbad railway division. The incident occurred around 12:10 am on Tuesday. The explosion took place within 12 hours of another blast carried out by the rebels between Daniya and Jageshwar-Bihar stations, also under CIC section, around 11.40am.

Although there was no injury, the attack led to cancellation of at least eight trains, including three passenger trains, and holding up rail traffic for nine hours.

The impact of the blast was of high potential, and the track is located near pole nos,39/18 in Bermo under the Sunday bazaar police station limits. About 3 feet track got twisted and bump up thee meters away. The over head equipment (OHE) of a assembly too got damaged, leading to the stranding 53343 UP and 53360 DN passenger trains and goods trains on the Gomoh-Barkakana section.

This is the second incident occurred with in the 12 hours of the day on the same route .The impact of the blast was such that about 3 feet of the track was totally twisted out of shape and displaced upwards by the five feet.

A full assembly of OHE too got damaged, leading to disruption of passenger and goods train services on the Gomoh-Barkakana section, railway sources said. Sources said a group of Maoists had planted a landmine on the railway track near Barwabera village between Bokaro Thermal-and Jarandih railway stations triggered a blast through a detonator kept around 55 meters away inside the location.

It was around 12:05 am that a goods oil tanker train was on it way to Dhanbad station the Maoists made it their target .

But unfortunate, the explosion took place after the goods oil tanker passed the landmine site. The impact of the blast was such high and created a gaping hole .About 3 feet of the track were also blown away at two places. Maoists also left several posters and pamphlets on the spot.

Train service was disrupted on this route for about 18 hours. The only passengers trains plying in the morning and afternoon were cancelled on Tuesday following the incident. Railway top officials, who were camping at the site.

The Maoists called for the 24 hour bandh, in the area protesting the arrest of their erstwhile  politburo leader Mukhlal alias Mochhu Singh recently.

“We immediately sent Railway Protection Force and Government Railway Police personnel to the spot. Our technicians also got to work and repaired the stretch in record six hours. Train services resumed from 9am,” said deputy commercial manager, Dhanbad railway division, Ved Prakash.

According to him, the Maoists targeted the CIC section to avenge the arrest of their senior commander Mukhlal Mahto, alias Mochu. The same issue had prompted them to call the bandh in North Chotanagpur on Monday. “As Mukhlal Mahto hails from this zone, the Maoists chose to cause maximum damages to Bokaro,” Ved Prakash said.

Bokaro SP Jitendra Singh said: “We are having meetings with RPF and other security wings to draw up strategies to thwart the rebels.”

Maoists blow up Railway track in Bokaro

बोकारो Bokaro (BKSC): Maoists today blew up a portion of a railway track in Bokaro district disrupting train services, police said here.

The rebels destroyed about 1.5 metre track near Jhumra hills between Dania and Jageshwar stations, Superintendent of Police Jitendra Singh said.

Both the UP and DN Gomo-Barwadih passenger trains were held up at different points and police has rushed to the spot, he said

Bag containing Safety Fuses used for making explosives found in Kozhikode Railway Stn

कालीकट Calicut (CLT): The police, on Thursday, recovered a bag containing nearly 550 metres of safety fuse, used for making explosives, from the Kozhikode railway station premises. The bag was first noticed by a few passengers near the second platform.

On detailed inspection, the police found three bundles of safety fuses, each containing 25 pieces, in the bag. Circle Inspector A.K. Babu and Sub Inspector Rajagopal reached the spot and carried out a detailed inspection with the support of the dog squad.

The police officials confirmed that the materials recovered from the bag were mostly used for making explosives, especially those used in quarries. However, they were yet to get any clues on who dropped the bag on the platform.

Following the incident, the railway police conducted a detailed search in all parts of the railway station. The dog squad too joined the searches.

Hoax call halts Train near Warangal over Bomb Threat to Swarna Jayanthi

वरंगल Warangal (WL):  Warangal railway enquiry authorities received a hoax call from an unknown person here on Monday, stating that a bomb was planted in Swarna Jayanthi express which was going to New Delhi from Visakhapatnam.

Immediately the railway police were alerted who swung into action and stopped the train near Warangal Railway station. All the compartments were searched by pressing dog squad police and a bomb squad. The search continued for an hour. Railway Protection Force circle inspector Ravi Kumar said, each and every compartment along with passengers’ luggage was checked thoroughly.

Meanwhile, the railway authorities tracked the fake call which was dialed from mobile  number 7207748916. The hoax caller had said  that within five minutes Swarna Jayanthi express would explode as a powerful bomb was planted in the train.

When the train stopped abruptly at Warangal railway station panic spread among the passengers for a while.  Once it was confirmed that it was a hoax call, railway authorities gave  green signal around 7.15pm to the train. A case has been registered and an investigation is on.