GRP/Vijayawada issues ‘shoot-at-sight’ orders at Train Robbers
GRP drafts summer action plan to prevent robberies on trains; nearly 20 gangs are operating in the State. Train Robbers carry country-made pistols and other lethal weapons. Police can resort to firing to protect themselves as well as the public.
Vijayawada: Superintendent of Government Railway Police of Vijayawada Division Shemushi Bajpai issued shoot-at-sight orders against gangs robbing passengers in moving trains and on platforms.
She appealed to the police to be alert during summer to save the lives of passengers and their properties. In the process, police need not wait for any orders and can open fire on thieves to foil their attempts to rob passengers, she said.
“Most of the inter-state gangs strike on moving trains during the summer. Thieves carry country-made pistols and other lethal weapons and they do not hesitate to open fire on passengers and police. To protect themselves as well as the public, police can resort to firing,” the SP clarified.
Ms. Bajpai said that an action plan has been prepared to prevent thefts in moving trains during April, May and June. As a part of it, additional forces would be requisitioned and patrolling intensified in trains along with Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel.
“Government Railway Police (GRP) has about 550 strength, including Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs), Circle Inspectors (CIs), Sub-Inspectors and constables. We will get additional staff from the districts. We identified the trains, places and timings where thefts are occurring during summer season,” the SRP said. Instructions have been given to the police to coordinate with Guntakal and Hyderabad Division railway police and arrange security to the passengers in identified trains. Armed security personnel would be deployed in trains, Ms. Bajpai told.
About 20 robber gangs are moving in Rajahmundry, Visakhapatnam, Ongole, Nellore and Vijayawada routes. Gangs from Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are active in A.P. and gangs from few other states are striking occasionally.
“The Modus Operandi (MO) of the gangs is different. Thieves loot passengers by sedating and cutting their bags when they are asleep and some gangs create panic by causing injuries with knives and fire arms to carry out their operations. We request the passengers to be alert, particularly in reserved and air-conditioned bogies from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., and help the police in preventing crimes,” the Railway SP said.
Vijayawada Railway DSP P. Ramakrishna said that the police arrested a few members of different robber gangs in the last few days.
Coordination meetings were held with the RPF and the South Central Railway authorities to curb the menace.
“We will take the cooperation of civil police as robbers escape into the villages and towns after committing thefts in trains. Patrolling should be arranged along the tracks at vulnerable places,” Mr. Ramakrishna said.
Now, file police plaint while aboard a train
Government Railway Police (GRP), Nagpur, launched a web-based app on Sunday to help railway passengers get in touch with them without having to discontinue travel. Apart from starting ‘app.nagpurrailwaypolice.org’, GRP has moved a notch higher by deciding to visit complainants to record statements instead of summoning them to the police station. The citizens can also help railways avoid sabotage attacks by alerting the police through the app.
Any passenger with a grievance can lodge a complaint through the app, which does not have to be downloaded. Persons not using smartphones can avail the same service through a helpline (7775859226) too. The alert messages would be attended by control room officers, who shall direct the nearest personnel to reach the complainant. The complaint would also be directed to a WhatsApp group, where officers from the ranks of Addl Director General of Police and lower rank, including superintendent of police, GRP, will take prompt action, supervision and follow-up. The software named ‘Pratisadh app’ has been formulated as a measure to create an interface with citizen for better service delivery by railway police. This was done on instructions from director general of police Praveen Dixit.
SP, GRP, Rajiv Jain said at the inauguration of the app by Addl DG, Railways, Kanakratnam, that initially a targeted response time of 20 minutes is being contemplated. “The basic idea is to encourage people travelling in train to lodge complaints without disturbing his or her itinerary. Another objective is to get the complaint attended to while in travel,” said Jain.
He said that even complaints other than security issues can also be sent through the app, which shall be directed to the concerned authorities. “We have created a database of ticket collectors, station masters and other senior railway officials to direct complaints to them,” he said. “We are also aiming to ensure character verification of coach attendants and vendors too,” said the GRP SP.
Multi-dept squads set up
Around 39 squads, involving GRP, Railway Protection Force (RPF) and railway authorities, have been made functional at major stations to ensure action against illegal activities. The squads would act against various nuisances including criminal activities, vagabonds and illegal vendors in railway premises. “Regular coordination meetings are taking place with different authorities,” said SP, GRP, Rajiv Jain.