Regular-article-logo Thursday, 21 September 2023

Passengers run riot in Howrah

Train delay sparks violence; 5 held for vandalising station master’s cabin

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 26.10.19, 07:22 PM
The damaged door and window of the guest room at Howrah station on Saturday

The damaged door and window of the guest room at Howrah station on Saturday Sanat Kr Sinha

A group of passengers vandalised the senior station manager’s room right under the boro ghori (big clock) at Howrah station on Saturday afternoon after a local train was delayed for close to an hour.

The glass doors and windopanes of an AC guest room inside were shattered but no one was injured, a rail official said. Five people, including a teenager, have been arrested.


The attack took place when the Arambagh-Howrah local entered platform No. 5 after 11.30am instead of its scheduled 10.45am arrival time.

“The same train was to go to Arambagh and some passengers waiting for the train turned aggressive as soon as the Down train arrived. Some passengers from the train that pulled into the station started protesting the delay,” a Howrah division rail official said.

The protesting group had more than 100 passengers but fewer than 10 were instrumental in breaking the glass with stones from the tracks, a Railway Protection Force officer said.

“We are trying to identify the others by scanning the CCTV footage of the area,” the officer said.

The Howrah division official said the train was stuck at the Rishra level crossing and at the Howrah yard. The train got stranded for more than 20 minutes near the car shed in the yard, he said.

The stop at the yard was needed as several trains had assembled on the same stretch.

“The Arambagh-Howrah local had to be stopped to make way for the Bolpur-bound Kaviguru Express,” the official said.

The “detention and bunching” of passenger trains at the yard is the “most common complaint” of suburban passengers headed to the city every day. Howrah station, one of the busiest in the country, has 24 platforms, which handle close to 600 trains every day.

Suburban trains number over 450. The average daily passenger count is close to a million, an Eastern Railway official said.

“A delay of 10 minutes before entering the station is a routine affair. But the train was stuck for a long time today,” a passenger said.

A handful of trains run between Arambagh and Howrah and any delay has a ripple effect. The arrested people were handed over to the Government Railway Police. They will be produced before the Howrah chief judicial magistrate on Sunday.

“It is unfortunate.... We conduct regular campaigns to discourage passengers from resorting to violence,” Ishaq Khan, the divisional railway manager of Howrah, said.

The arrested have been identified as Shyamal Banerjee, 59, Ranadip Bangani, 22, Goutam Das, 43, and Koushik Mondal, 21. The fifth is an 18-year-old boy.

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