How effective is security in the railway stations in India. At any given time there is a crowd in the railways stations and it makes for a potential terrorist target. There are several incidents that have taken place in the past two years to demonstrate why railway security begs for improvement.
It goes wrong from the basics. Lack of Close Circuit Televisions is one major concern. The Swathi murder case at the Chennai railway station revealed that there was no CCTV and the police had to depend on the footage obtained from a nearby police station.
The security of the Railway Stations are the responsibility of the Railway Protection Force. There have been complaints regarding the lack of investigating skills and seriousness where this force is concerned. Moreover many consider it to be a punishment transfer and tend to try their best and avoid a posting at the Railways.
Security a joke:
It would not be wrong to state that the Railway stations are probably the easiest targets for any terrorist group. Let us look at a couple of incidents that have taken place in a railway station. To begin with let us examine the Chennai train blasts. Investigations have shown that the two bombers had carried the bomb into the Bengaluru railway station and assembled the same in the wash room.
Their bag had IEDs, gun powder a pipe, batteries and wires. How did this manage to get through the security check. There is a scanner at the entrance, but it appears that the person manning the unit did nothing to check. The bomb was assembled in the washroom and then taken inside the train. The bomb exploded when the train landed at the Chennai Railway station.
The other two incidents where there were glaring security lapses were at Panipat. There were two blasts on the same train and at the same railway station in a span of five months. On January 15 an explosion occurred on the bogey of a train in Panipat. On May 12, there was another explosion on the same train at the same railway station. The blasts were low intensity in nature and there were no casualties. The bigger question is how did the bomber smuggle the bomb in twice by not getting caught.
A job in RPF not preferred:
Many in the police force do not prefer being posted in the Railway Protection Force. They feel that it is a punishment posting or the challenge in the job is not good enough. There have also been complaints that members of this force are not professional investigators and this has also caused a lot of problems.
The biggest problem is the lack of personnel in the force which have led to complaints of over load of work. In addition to incidents in the railway station the RPF also has the task of manning and protecting the assets of the railways. Take for instances the naxal attacks. Naxals have several times in the past blown up railway tracks.
In this regard a committee was formed to give a detailed report on the yardsticks for the creation of posts in the RPF. The committee in its report had made various recommendations on bettering the force and also said that new posts in the force need to be created. Based on the report proposals are being formulated for the creation of new posts in the RPF to make the same effective.