A banner at Ranchi station’s RPF assistance booth on Wednesday warns passengers against befriending strangers on trains. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The RPF may boast a perfect 10 as far as busting train crime in Ranchi is concerned, but drug-and-rob gangs are getting smarter by the day pronouncing the need for a more efficient security sieve.
They have changed their modus operandi to trick unsuspecting passengers boarding trains bound for the capital and Hatia from relatively remote stations such as Karmatanr in Jamtara district and Madhupur in Deoghar, where proper policing is wanting.
According to A.K. Gorai, the officer in charge of Ranchi’s RPF booth, members of these criminal gangs now befriend a passenger by eating together instead of just offering spiked tea or drugged biscuits like earlier.
“Here lies the catch. The packet of biscuits, which the criminal shares with his fellow passenger, is only partly drugged. The victim is cleverly offered only those that are laced, while the criminal munches on biscuits that are not drugged. This way, the gangs avoid raising suspicion,” Gorai explained.
An RPF jawan pointed out that the gangs often employ other mean ways — not to mention unhygienic ones — to drug and rob their gullible preys. “For instance, most of these criminals grow the nail on their index finger. The long nail helps store powdered sedatives. They dip their finger in a cup of tea while the victim is unmindful and later rob him of his belongings,” he said.
Since May, the railway force has nabbed as many as 10 train gangs from different parts of Ranchi. Interrogation of those arrested revealed their new modus operandi and prompted the RPF to step up awareness.
Last month, a campaign was kicked off at both Ranchi and Hatia stations. Passengers are being alerted through banners, pamphlets and public announcements.
“For the past few months, the Ranchi RPF had been registering at least one drug-and-rob case every day. Most victims were from outside the district, but their destinations are either Ranchi or Hatia. However, the awareness campaign has brought things under control for the time being,” Gorai said, adding that the drive would continue till the end of the festive season, which sees a spurt in train crimes because of reveller rush.
Ranchi divisional security commissioner A.K. Das could not be contacted for comments, but Gorai insisted that they would intensify policing to check a rise in train crimes round the year.
Have you been a victim of a drug-and-rob train gang?