Railway police prepare dossier on train gangs

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS): In the wake of a series of chain snatchings and thefts reported on trains running to south Tamil Nadu and involving offenders from other states, the Government Railway Police have prepared a dossier of more than 70 criminals hailing from north India.

The dossier has been circulated to all GRP stations in the state and beat constables have been instructed to keep an eye on faces matching those in the ‘album’.

GRP officials said the dossier contained detailed profiles of criminals, including photographs, identity information and previous case details collected from various states where they posed as passengers and committed chain snatching and thefts on trains. A majority of them hail from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana and West Bengal.

“We have generally been creating awareness on safe travel which includes protecting oneself from chain snatchings and thefts,” said Seema Agrawal, Inspector General of Police, GRP, Tamil Nadu.

GRP sources said they had been witnessing a re-emergence of the trend where offenders from north India target rail passengers in southern Tamil Nadu. Trains running across places like Trichy, Dharmapuri, Erode, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Nagercoil are specifically targeted as women wear or carry a lot of gold jewellery.

One gang reportedly strikes mainly in the March-June period. Its members, posing like passengers, would get on to a train and pull the chain as the train passed through a deserted area. They would then grab whatever they could lay their hands on and escape.

Others wait at railway stations and snatch chains through train windows or crowd up at the door of a train and in the pretext of helping passengers take away their valuables.

It was only in the last few years that police have been able to trace the gangs to their states. “In the last few months, we have cracked close to 100 cases with the arrest of these men from their hideouts in the north,” a GRP officer said.