Mumbai, July 31
A Railway Protection Force constable on early Monday morning shot dead his senior colleague and three passengers in two bogies and a pantry car on board the moving Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express near Palghar railway station in Maharashtra, officials said. He was nabbed with his weapon later while trying to flee after passengers pulled the chain of the train which stopped near Mira Road station (on the Mumbai suburban network) at around 6 AM.
Constable Chetan Singh (34) shot dead RPF Assistant Sub-Inspector Tika Ram Meena and another passenger in B5 coach with his automatic weapon after 5 AM. He then shot dead another passenger in the pantry car five coaches away and went on to kill one more passenger in S6 coach, which is 8th bogie from the B5 coach, an official said.
Earlier in the day, the GRP control room and a senior official had identified the accused as Chetan Kumar Choudhary.
In the afternoon, GRP commissioner Ravindra Shisve told reporters the constable has been identified as Chetan Singh.
According to an official, the alarm chain in the train was pulled at around 5.59 am. As the train came to a halt near Mira Road station, Singh jumped down on the railway tracks with his weapon and started running. He was nabbed by personnel of GRP and RPF after a chase and his weapon was seized.
The deceased passengers were identified as Abdul Kadarbhai Mohammed Hussain Bhanpurwala (48), a resident of Nalasopara in Palghar, Asgar Abbas Sheikh (48), a resident of Madhubani in Bihar, and one Sadar Mohammed Hussain.
"The incident occurred after 5 am after the Mumbai-bound Jaipur Superfast Express crossed Vapi station (in Gujarat). RPF constable Chetan Singh, who was on escort duty, opened fire at his senior Tika Ram Meena and went on shooting dead three more passengers in different bogies of the train," Government Railway Police (GRP) commissioner Ravindra Shisve told media persons.
He said the exact reason behind the incident is not known yet as an investigation is underway.
"Police are enquiring with passengers and RPF personnel, who were part of the escort party, and staffers of the pantry car," he said.
Queried on a video purportedly showing the accused constable present near dead bodies and apparently justifying the killings, Shisve said the video clip is being examined along with other materials.
The GRP has formed an SIT to probe the incident.
"It is too early to jump to any conclusion, and at this stage, it will be premature to comment anything and share any details about the probe," Shisve said, adding that police will investigate and examine whatever material they get.
"This is the first-of-its-kind of the incident on a running train. Passengers are scared. We want to assure them that police will investigate the incident in detail," he added.
Alleging that the incident was a “terror attack” targeted at Muslims, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted that it was “specifically targeted Muslims. It is the product of continuous anti-Muslim hate speech & unwillingness of @narendramodi to put an end to it. Will the accused #RPFJawan become a future BJP candidate? Will his bail be supported by the govt? Will he be garlanded when released? Happy to be proven wrong #JaipurMumbaiExpress.” According to the GRP, Singh fired 12 rounds from his automatic weapon. The GRP recovered eight bullets from his automatic weapon after the incident.
Singh, who hails from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, is in the custody of the Mira Road railway police, the official said.
Another senior police official said the accused RPF constable was very short-tempered.
The four bodies were taken out of the train at Borivali railway station, he said.
According to railway officials, four RPF personnel, including constable Singh, were escorting the Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express from Surat station in Gujarat on Monday.
The four-member team earlier escorted Dadar-Porbandar Saurashtra Express up to Surat station the previous day. On the return journey, the escorting party was guarding the Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express, a senior railway official said.
Western Railway's (WR) chief public relations officer Sumit Thakur told PTI the accused constable was attached to the Lower Parel RPF post here, while ASI Tika Ram Meena was attached to the Dadar RPF post.
The Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express departed from Jaipur station at 2.01 pm on Sunday and reached Surat, where the escort party boarded the train, at 2.47 am on Monday.
Later, the train stopped at its official halt at Vapi in Gujarat, from where it departed one minute late at 4.08 am, as per the official running status of the train.
Thakur said an alarm chain pulling happened in the train near Dahisar station (in Mumbai).
(After the incident) The train was held up at Borivali station for about an hour from 6.21 am to 7.15 am. It reached its final destination Mumbai Central station at 8.07 am, about 72 minutes late, as per the train's running status. Most of the passengers from the B5 and S6 coaches alighted at Borivali station.
A senior RPF official said ASI Meena hailed from Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. He was supposed to retire in 2025.
According to railway officials, the accused constable was transferred to Mumbai from the Bhavnagar division last March and had recently visited his native place Hathras. He joined duty on July 17.
He was arrested under section 302 (Punishment for Murder) of the Indian Penal Code, the Arms Act, and the Railways Act.
A forensic team visited the B5 coach and the pantry car of the train and collected samples, a police official said.
An ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh has been announced for the kin of the deceased ASI Meena, a senior Western Railway official said.
Meena's kin will be given Rs 15 lakh from the Railway Suraksha Kalyan Nidhi (fund), apart from funeral expenses of Rs 20,000. His kin will also get a sum from the death-cum-retirement gratuity and group insurance scheme, Thakur said.
Asked about compensation for the families of the other three victims of the train firing incident, Thakur said, "Ex-gratia will be given." Meena is survived by his wife, a 20-year-old son and a 22-year-old daughter. Meena's daughter and son-in-law have reached Kandivali-based hospital to claim the body.
Singh was staying in barracks here. His family includes his wife, two children aged 6 and 8, and his parents.
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