Wednesday, October 7, 2015

MADURAI: Miscreants pelting stones at trains are putting passengers at risk, with some of them managing to cause serious injuries. Three such incidents took place in a period of 10 days recently, in which five people, including a loco pilot, suffered injuries. Rail users and employee unions have urged railway authorities to take immediate action to curb this menace.

Stone pelting occurs mostly in the evenings and boys, including school and college students, are found to be indulging in this practice. There are also some notorious areas between Madurai and Ramanathapuram and Madurai and Virudhunagar railway sections, like Keezhmadurai and Subramanyapuram. Anti-social elements use the stone wall running adjacent to the railway line in these areas to drink and smoke 'ganja'. In their inebriated condition, they pelt stones on trains, railway sources said.

Train guard and divisional secretary of Dakshin Railway Employee Union R Sankaranarayanan said these miscreants pelt stones for entertainment but it has grave consequences. He himself suffered an injury on his hand while working as a guard on Madurai - Rameswaram passenger.

"The miscreants don't realise that most of the window-side passengers are children, pregnant women in need of fresh air and elderly people. A stone pelted on a moving train acts like a projectile and can cause very serious injury," he pointed out. The stone-pelters target ladies coaches in particular to derive a special satisfaction from terrorising women passengers, railway employees said.

Such sudden attack on passengers can spoil the entire train journey, said W Edward, a regular commuter. Of late, the incidents are on rise. "Railway authorities should take it seriously and initiate action. There have been three incidents in a row, and the railways should have caught the miscreants and punished them," he said.

The Railway Protection Force should increase their patrol on the notorious stretches. Another measure could be to sensitise public by discussing the issue with residents' associations. If some of the miscreants are caught and punished severely, others will stop this act, rail users said.

Divisional railway manager Sunil Kumar Garg said they are investigating the incidents and would take necessary action.

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