Monday, August 8, 2016

Parth Shastri| TNN | Aug 7, 2016, 

Various zonal offices of Indian Railways to send officers at Gandhi Nagar-based universities for trainingRead More

AHMEDABAD: Nearly 30,000 persons die on railway tracks - either in accidents or suicide bids - in India. Many of them are not identified for years. Likewise, there are over 100 major accidents reported annually causing loss of life and property.

In such a scenario, forensic science plays a major role not only in detecting the crimes but also suggesting prevention - it was the general consensus of the senior railway security officials who had participated in a week-long course on 'Rail Forensics' at Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU) at Gandhinagar from July 25 to 30.

Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials said that a proposal for centralized forensic science laboratory (FSL) exclusively for the railway related cases is already sent to senior authorities for approval. The demand underlined the volume of cases handled by RPF and state-level Government Railway Police (GRP) as reason.

"We had to design the course from scratch. While the application of forensic science for detecting cases happened on railway tracks including trains is not new, we saw the field holistically and decided to include aspects such as cyber crime, information security, digital forensics, search and seizure process, white-collar crimes, railway accidents and explosives into training," said RN Guna, deputy registrar, GFSU.

Keshav Kumar, ADGP with Gujarat Police and one of the speakers at the event, said that knowledge of forensics comes handy while deciding course of action in times of major event or calamity.

"In Gyaneshwari Express mishap that took place in West Bengal, there were over 100 dead in the aftermath and many were unidentified. As the state had announced compensation for the deceased, many had come forward to claim. As part of CBI team, we ensured that the victims' DNA samples are collected which could be matched with the claimants. With the process, over 15 of the victims could be identified," he said.

GFSU officials said that the idea for the training has roots in DGP conference in December 2015 where the DG of RPF had interacted with GFSU and Gandhinagar-based Directorate of Forensic Sciences (DFS) for imparting training to the senior officials. The batch of 20 officers from North-West division that came in July was the first. "Other batches would soon take place," said a GFSU official.

Officials added that any major railway tragedy requires answers such as whether it was an accident or sabotage, what were the factors that led to incidents such as derailment or fire and can design intervention solve some of the issues. "Proper investigation would give a number of answers to such questions - something which we communicated to the officers under training," said an official.


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