In 2013, the latest year for which the figures for crime in Indian Railways are available say of some over 1400 incidents of heinous crime including murders, dacoity, rape and robbery.
Going by the annual tally for some years, we can safely assume the figures to be hovering around on similar scale as nothing earth-shattering has happened in the intervening period. Overall safety and security continues to be a big issue and a worrying aspect for the Indian Railways, the lifeline of public commuting in India.
And we seldom hear of these odd 1400-1500 incidents of heinous crimes, even murders the figure for which for 2013 was 270, leave alone the cases of dacoity and robbery, over 1100 in 2013.
Because they mostly happen with the ‘aam aadmi’, the common man. Most of them cannot afford even the higher class (read AC First Class and AC Second Class) travel by the trains. Taking a calculated ride of comfort has the AC Three Tier as the first preference because it is the cheapest one. Even if they can afford or somehow afford, most of them are not certainly the VVIPs.
Also, the AC class passengers, with most of them still being the common men, though with inflated pockets, form a minor fraction of the overall train passengers in India with sleeper class and second class accounting for over 90% of the volume.
The ‘khaas aadmi’, the VVIP personalities, are inhabitants of the AC First Class and in extreme circumstances, they opt to go with the AC Second Class. But the overall Indian Railways is secondary option for the ‘khaas aadmi’, including even the free-loader VVIPs. Train becomes an option only when there is non-availability of air carriers (due to varied reasons).
And even if VVIPs do travel by trains, we seldom hear voices (or clamoured voices) on heinous crimes in Indian Railways.
One of the natural reasons behind it is – most of the victims are from different classes of ‘aam aadmi’, even if inhabiting the AC classes.
And who cares for them in a country deeply indebted with the ethos of a VVIP culture where elected politician are seen as above the rest, the privileged class having the first and foremost access to the country’s system.
So, it takes a VVIP crime incident on moving tracks to make us raise voices on the deteriorating scenario, a scenario that was in pathetic shape perennially.
A state finance minister (Madhya Pradesh) was travelling from Jabalpur to Delhi with his wife in AC First Class. They were robbed today at gunpoint near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.
Now, in 2013, 1096 robberies were recorded on moving trains but we did not hear about even single of them, at least not regionally or nationally. We did not hear what happened to the probes or if any action was taken against the policemen for showing laxity in duty.
Because the victims were the ‘aam aadmi’.
Today, it was a ‘khaas aadmi’ and therefore, three policemen were immediately suspended and a high-level enquiry was ordered.
And the victims were there, all around, to tell their story, with plenty of ears to hear them.
In a country, where a young and honest IAS officer dies a suspicious death and a state government adamantly declines the demands of the grieving family members of an independent, impartial probe the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Because the honest folk was not from some VVIP family and so no connections. Besides, he had taken on many corrupt VVIPs.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/