Train Robberies: Railways to step up Security on Vulnerable Stretches

Agra: Passengers and GRP officials are worried over spurt in incidents of train robberies on Agra-Etmadpur-Tundla, Tundla-Etawah, Etah-Kasganj and Mainpuri routes. The area has earned notoriety after seven such incidents were reported on these stretches in the last one year only.

Deputy railway manager, Agra division, Sunil Kumar acknowledged the problem and said security on the railway route will be reviewed shortly. “A security review will be done in the Agra division of North-Central Railway. More cops will be deployed to enhance the safety of passengers in train,” he said.

Barely a few hours before Thursday incident where Madhya Pradesh finance minister Jayant Malaiya and his wife were robbed of cash and valuables in the Jabalpur-Nizamuddin Express, another six passengers were looted in Dakshin Express near Keetham lake in Agra.

Before this, on March 3, four miscreants had looted five friends travelling from Jaipur in a train to Bihar. Later, GRP personnel arrested two of the four robbers.

On February 26, an old couple in a Tamil Nadu-bound train, who were returning from New Delhi were robbed of valuables worth Rs 15 lakh at knife-point by four masked assailants.

In April 2014, passengers of the Chennai-bound Tamil Nadu Express were targeted between Mathura and Agra with robbers beating up passengers and taking away jewellery and cash worth around Rs 15 lakh.

In other cases, a railway board official, Rakesh Srivastav, who was travelling along with his wife in Maha Kaushal Express, was looted by unidentified assailants in 2013.

Apart from this, a gang of miscreants shot dead Mohit Bharadwaj, an accused in the murder of local Samajwadi Party leader S Kohli, in Shreedham express near Farah in April 2013. A constable was also shot dead in the incident.

On July 20, 2013, several passengers onboard Delhi-bound Grand Trunk Express were robbed when armed miscreants stormed into the train near Agra.

“The stretch between Agra and Mathura and Palwal has often reported loot and robbery incidents in trains. With six robberies, Farah-Keetham area near Mathura has reported the maximum number of incidents in the last one year,” said a GRP official.

“This is a very serious matter and requires urgent attention of authorities. Something is seriously wrong somewhere. The GRP should now chalk out an effective strategy to deal with the offenders. Train passengers do not pay for getting looted or murdered in the course of their journey,” said Mainsh Dwivedi, a daily passenger between Agra and Etawah.

Besides, cases of ‘zehar khurani’ are also rampant on the Agra-Mathura, Agra-Tundla and Tundla-Etawah routes. According to reports, three-four such incidents take place every week. However, the GRP has registered only a few drug-and-rob cases in this division.

NCR CPRO Vijay Kumar accepted that several robbery cases were reported from Agra-Mathura, Agra-Etawah and Mainpuri routes in the past. He claimed that the railways is taking care of the safety of the passengers and GRP has been asked to remain alert in sensitive zones.