In 2013, the latest year for which the
figures for crime in Indian Railways are available say of some over 1400
incidents of heinous crime including murders, dacoity, rape and robbery.
Going by the annual tally for some years,
we can safely assume the figures to be hovering around on similar scale as
nothing earth-shattering has happened in the intervening period. Overall safety
and security continues to be a big issue and a worrying aspect for the Indian
Railways, the lifeline of public commuting in India.
And we seldom hear of these odd 1400-1500
incidents of heinous crimes, even murders the figure for which for 2013 was
270, leave alone the cases of dacoity and robbery, over 1100 in 2013.
Because they mostly happen with the 'aam
aadmi', the common man. Most of them cannot afford even the higher class (read
AC First Class and AC Second Class) travel by the trains. Taking a calculated
ride of comfort has the AC Three Tier as the first preference because it is the
cheapest one. Even if they can afford or somehow afford, most of them are not
certainly the VVIPs.
Also, the AC class passengers, with most of
them still being the common men, though with inflated pockets, form a minor
fraction of the overall train passengers in India with sleeper class and second
class accounting for over 90% of the volume.
The 'khaas aadmi', the VVIP personalities,
are inhabitants of the AC First Class and in extreme circumstances, they opt to
go with the AC Second Class. But the overall Indian Railways is secondary
option for the 'khaas aadmi', including even the free-loader VVIPs. Train
becomes an option only when there is non-availability of air carriers (due to
And even if VVIPs do travel by trains, we
seldom hear voices (or clamoured voices) on heinous crimes in Indian Railways.
One of the natural reasons behind it is -
most of the victims are from different classes of 'aam aadmi', even if
inhabiting the AC classes.
And who cares for them in a country deeply
indebted with the ethos of a VVIP culture where elected politician are seen as
above the rest, the privileged class having the first and foremost access to
the country's system.
So, it takes a VVIP crime incident on
moving tracks to make us raise voices on the deteriorating scenario, a scenario
that was in pathetic shape perennially.
A state finance minister (Madhya Pradesh)
was travelling from Jabalpur to Delhi with his wife in AC First Class. They
were robbed today at gunpoint near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.
Now, in 2013, 1096 robberies were recorded
on moving trains but we did not hear about even single of them, at least not regionally
or nationally. We did not hear what happened to the probes or if any action was
taken against the policemen for showing laxity in duty.
Because the victims were the 'aam aadmi'.
Today, it was a 'khaas aadmi' and
therefore, three policemen were immediately suspended and a high-level enquiry
And the victims were there, all around, to
tell their story, with plenty of ears to hear them.
In a country, where a young and honest IAS
officer dies a suspicious death and a state government adamantly declines the
demands of the grieving family members of an independent, impartial probe the
Central Bureau of Investigation.
Because the honest folk was not from some
VVIP family and so no connections. Besides, he had taken on many corrupt VVIPs.