The suicide incident, wherein a man involved in a murder case hanged himself inside the Tea-garden Express train stationed at the Ernakulam Junction, has raised accusing eyebrows on the lack of security checks within trains and platforms in the state.
According to sources, despite the norms laid down by the Railways that all doors and windows of trains stationed near the stations for long hours on a stretch should be closed, scanty regard is shown to the rules by the railways employees.
“A few days prior to the incident we had asked the authorities to strengthen security while the trains are halted near the station. However, they cited lack of employees to do the job. Maybe today it is a case of suicide, tomorrow it could be a life threatening bomb,” sources within the Railways said.
All-Kerala Railway Users Association president K J Paul Manvattom said that Thursday’s incident shows the lack of responsibility shown by the railway staff. They continuously give excuse about the lack of personnel on duty. However, despite the crunch, it is the responsibility of the employees to ensure the security of trains and its passengers without any excuse,” he said.
Meanwhile, Railway employees said that the steps taken by the Thiruvananthapuram divisions officials to cut down the number of staff will result in future security threats in the Railways.
“In the past there were posts such as lock duty personnel to specifically do the job of locking the doors and windows every time the trains are stationed. However, now it is done by either the mechanical or contract cleaning staff who have other responsibilities,” another source added.
However, a certain section of the railway employees cited that the guidelines for closing the doors and windows of the trains is not practical because it would render a mustiness in the trains after cleaning. Also, keeping vigil on the trains all the time is impossible, they said.
Meanwhile, Railway authorities maintained that all the trains are kept closed except during the time of cleaning. “There is hardly any chance of security issues to crop up,” the official said.