Vol. 5 Num 1071 Wed. June 06, 2007  
Star Chittagong

Poor policing gives rise to robbery in trains

Crime has increased in an alarming rate in trains on Chittagong routes as Government Railway Police (GRP) here are unable to tackle the menace.

At least five incidents of robbery and snatching have occurred in trains on different routes in Chittagong in May, leaving 14 passengers injured.

Police arrested 20 robbers and snatchers red-handed with the help of passengers in these connections.

Fifteen trains leave Chittagong Railway Station everyday for different parts of the country, sources said. Of them, 13 services --- Paharika for Sylhet, Sagarika for Chandpur, Karnaphuli for Dhaka, Godhuli for Dhaka, Nasirabad for Bahadurabad, Meghna for Chandpur, Jalalabad for Sylhet, Udayan Express for Sylhet, Dhaka mail for Dhaka, Turna Nishitha for Dhaka, Paharika down train and two shuttle trains for Chittagong University (CU) --- need police protection for safety of the passengers and their belongings.

Only 60 law enforcers, including 17 policemen and 43 Ansars are managing the huge job at Chittagong Station of GRP while on many occasions the GRP authorities requisite seven policemen from its Faujdarhat Station and 10 to 15 from the Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP), sources said.

An officer in-charge (OC) runs the station with the help of three Sub- Inspectors (SI) and five ASI from the Old Railway Station building.

The GRP can't deploy sufficient force in the train in need to save the passengers and their belongings due to shortage of manpower.

The authorities only can deploy six to eight policemen and Ansars in the large trains of 13 to 15 compartments while the number of law enforcers has been decreased considering importance of the train, sources said.

Besides, the policemen are to do a huge job that include platform duty, assisting mobile court and eviction drives, GRP station sentry, mail duties, looking after the Unnatural Death (UD) cases, investigation of the cases and raids for arrest of criminals. In addition, some of them go on leave and join training.

Attack on passengers and crimes have increased in the running trains due to lack of sufficient law enforcers, sources said.

GRP Chittagong Station OC Nihar Ranjan Nath said it is too tough to tackle the robbers and snatchers in the trains by a small number of policemen and ansars.

The organised gang of robbers and snatchers take the opportunity of boarding and descending from the running train due to its slow movement from Feni to Chittagong Station following the poor condition of the track, Nihar said.

"Massive eviction drives on footpaths and city slums as well as other parts of the country might be the cause of rising crimes as most of the evicted people went jobless", he added.

At least five passengers of the Chittagong-bound Mahanagar Godhuli from Dhaka were injured when they tried to resist a gang of robbers in Faujdarhat area under Sitakunda upazila on May 30. Six of the robbers were arrested in cooperation with the passengers.

A gang of robbers stormed into the Chittagong-bound train Sagarika from Chandpur in Bhatiary area of the same upazila on May 2, leaving seven passengers injured. Police arrested 10 robbers in this connection.

Three incidents of robbery and snatching occurred on different trains, leaving a railway attendant and wife of a railway employee injured on May 9, 19 and 22.

Passengers caught four robbers red-handed in the incidents.

Besides, several incidents of snatching in Chittagong University (CU) shuttle trains occurred that left several students injured.

A section of railway employees are also involved with the crimes taking passengers without ticket for money from different spots, sources said.

Members of the Government Railway Police (GRP) are on patrol at Chittagong Railway Station. PHOTO: STAR