Dried blood brimming with flies and an entrance bereft of guards greeted passengers at Kavi Nazrul Metro station a day after gunshots felled a youth there.
Officials of Metro Railway washed their hands of the incident, arguing that 32-year-old Jharkhand resident Surinder Bharti was killed by a suspected business rival outside the station.
But they couldn’t explain why nobody had bothered to at least wash away the dried blood on the stairs leading to the station.
“It’s a shame. How can the authorities be so blasé about someone being killed? This is the entrance to a Metro station, right?” protested Sushmita Chakraborti, a resident of Birji Road in Garia.
Kavi Nazrul station (Garia Bazar), the last stop for Metro passengers heading south, is one of the four new stations on the extended route that was inaugurated with much fanfare in August by railway minister Mamata Banerjee.
The chief operations manager of Metro Railway, J.K. Mitra, said Surinder’s murder was a law and order problem that should be handled by police. “In any case, the incident did not occur on our premises. It is the police’s responsibility to maintain security outside the station. There has been no security lapse on our part.”
Surinder’s alleged killer, Pankaj Lala, and his accomplice were seen loitering near the Metro station since 3pm on Sunday, around two hours before the youth was fatally shot twice at the entrance to the station.
“Internal security, including vigilance on platforms and tracks, is the duty of Metro Railway Police and the Railway Protection Force,” said Rabi Mahapatra, the chief spokesperson for Metro Railway. “The outer ring of security is the responsibility of the Calcutta and West Bengal police, depending on the location of the station.”
Police officers said it was not possible to deploy a large contingent at all Metro stations. “Also, the new stations have three levels and it is difficult for us to cover everything,” said a senior officer.
There is clearly a case for Metro rail to extend its closed-circuit camera network — 340 cameras in 21 stations — to the entire station premises, including the entrances, like in underground systems abroad.
L.N. Meena, the superintendent of police of South 24-Parganas, meanwhile, promised a security boost at the stations along the southern extension. “I have designated a team of officers to scan the four new Metro stations and come up with recommendations to intensify security in co-ordination with the railway police,” he said.