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Railways to strengthen security March 14, 2007

Posted by naxalwatch in Railway.
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Special Correspondent

Armed RPF personnel to do escort duty on trains

NEW DELHI: In an attempt to strengthen security in trains and at railway stations for the travelling public, the Railways has decided to put in place a strategy that would include deployment of more Railway Protection Force personnel with modern arms, especially in the naxalite-affected areas of Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and North-East.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad has already made it clear that funds would not be a problem for modernising the force and also hurrying up the recruitment drive in the RPF with a huge backlog of vacancies.

Instructions issued

Mr. Prasad has issued instructions for special security measures to ensure safety of trains and passengers along the naxalite-affected area routes and also in States, where the threat perception is high.

The new guidelines come close on the heels of the bomb explosions on the Samjhauta Express train last month which killed 68 people.

A train was detained on March 13 last year in Latehar district in Jharkhand by naxalites. There have been instances of attack by naxalites on Railway property in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. There have been reports of increased threat perception on account of activities of extremist groups in Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and other naxal-affected States.

“The idea is to deploy armed Railway Protection Force personnel, adequately trained and equipped, on escort duty in trains particularly on the sections identified as vulnerable in naxal-affected areas, so as to act as a deterrent in addition to the Government Railway Force,” a senior official remarked.

The RPF was being equipped with walkie-talkie, hand-held metal detectors, door frame metal detectors, bullet-proof jackets, bullet-proof helmets and dragon searchlights.

The Railways were also in the process of setting up bomb detection and disposal squads, and inducting new sniffer dog squads.

Officials said as the Railways were bracing for a historic launch of train services in the Kashmir Valley from next month, it was important that a new security manual was in place with close coordination of the State Governments.