Despite the lynching of a Muslim man onboard a train in Ballabhgarh, the South Western Railway ran a Ramzan special train between Yeshwantpur and Belagavi without any security. Train No. 06589, Yeshwantpur-Belagavi Tatkal Special Express left Yeshwantpur at 8.35pm on Friday and reached Belagavi by 8.10am on Saturday. It carried about 1,100 passengers including women, children and senior citizens.
Train No. 06590, Belagavi-Yeshwantpur Tatkal Special Express is scheduled to depart Belagavi at 7.10pm on June 26 and expected to reach Yeshwantpur at 06.20am the next day. There is only trip in each direction. The trains have one AC 3-tier coach, 10 second class sleeper coaches and two luggage-cum-brakevans with disabled-friendly compartment. The trains have stoppages at Tumakuru, Arsikere, Birur, Davanagere, Harihar, Haveri, Hubballi, Dharwad and Londa.
Srinath, who travelled from Yeshwantpur to Hubballi on Friday night, told STOI that a drunken person with unreserved ticket created nuisance in the sleeper coaches. “Though the TTE tried to convince him that it is a fully reserved train, he was not ready to listen and even disturbed reserved passengers. Due to his behaviour, TTE insisted that he disembark at Tumakuru. After the argument, the drunken man assaulted the TTE. When we asked the TTE to hand over the drunken person to security personnel, we were stunned to know that there are no personnel in the whole train,” he said.
Shalini Patil (name changed on request) said that it was a nightmare to travel without security personnel. “Our sleep was spoiled due to the incident. Who is responsible in case of theft, assault or any type of untoward incident?” she asked.
Sunil Nalavade lamented that the SWR charged Rs 100 for sleeper class and additional Rs 260 for the special train, but neglected the security part. “SWR should clarify what special facility it gives in such special trains while it is failed to provide basic security. If they can’t deploy security personnel, they should announce it openly so that passengers can take their own risk or look for alternatives,” he said.
“There was display to indicate that train no. 06589 was Ramzan special at platform no. 5 at Yeshwantpur on Friday night. The electronic display was showing train no. 16572 which had already departed. When we enquired at the station, we got to know that the staff was unaware about train no. 06589 as it is supposed to run for only a single trip,” said Suresh Budihal, a passenger.
An inspector attached to the Railway Protection Force (RPF), informed that the Railways never deputes either RPF or Government Railway Police personnel for temporary trains.
“We spoke to the RPF officials in this regard. As the RPF is facing shortage of personnel and the existing personnel are deployed o routine trains, it’s difficult to escort temporary trains that run for 1-2 or more trips. However, we ensure security personnel in routine daily, bi-weekly, tri-weekly and weekly trains,” said E Vijaya, chief public relations officer, SWR, Hubballi.
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