Genie of Hate is Out, Collective Efforts Needed to Put it Back in Bottle, Says Congress on Mumbai-Jaipur Train Firing


NEW DELHI – The Congress on Monday hit back at the BJP after a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable killed four people inside Jaipur Express train saying that the genie of hate is now out of the bottle and it will take a lot of collective effort to put it back in.

“The cold-blooded murders carried out by a RPF constable is the result of an hyper-charged and highly polarised news media and social media atmosphere. The genie of hate is now out of the bottle and it will take a lot of collective effort to put it back in,” Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.

He also said that the message of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra was aimed to dial down the hate and violence spreading due to the ideology of the RSS.

“The message of the Bharat Jodo Yatra was aimed to dial down the hate and violence spreading due to the ideology of the RSS, and the politics of prejudice and polarisation of the BJP.

“Its top leadership is complicit in damaging the social fabric of India. The vast majority of Indians will soon reject this politics of hatred and vengeance,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.

His remarks came after a RPF constable allegedly shot dead his immediate in-charge and three other passengers onboard a running train, Jaipur-Mumbai Superfast Express (No. 12956) on Monday.

The incident occurred as the train was speeding between Virar (Palghar) and Mira Road (Thane) where the two on-duty cops – Constable Chetankumar Singh and his in-charge, Assistant Sub-Inspector Tikaram Meena – were on escort duty.

In a speeding train shocker, a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable allegedly went berserk and shot dead his immediate superior and three other passengers onboard the Jaipur-Mumbai Superfast Express (No. 12956) early on Monday morning, officials said.

The incident occurred as the train was speeding near Vaitarna station (Palghar) and Mira Road (Thane) where the two on-duty cops – Constable Chetankumar Singh, 30, and his in-charge, Assistant Sub-Inspector Tikaram Meena, 58 – were on escort duty, along with 3 others.

According to an official statement by RPF Commissioner Ravindra Shisve late this evening, the firing incident took place between 5-5.30 a.m. in the B-5 bogie, where Singh shot dead Meena and one passenger.

Then he ran to the adjoining pantry car where he killed one other person, and then fled to the B-6 coach and killed the third passenger.

As per earlier accounts, Singh reportedly had an argument with some passenger in the B-5 coach, when he lifted and aimed his automatic weapon at him, but Meena intervened and asked him to maintain calm.

In the indiscriminate firing, Singh fired at least 12 rounds indiscriminately from his weapon, and 10 rounds were fired from his superior’s gun.

As per eyewitnesses, jolted awake by the volley of gunfire, some passengers pulled the chain and the train on its Vapi-Borivali run halted at Mira Road station.

As the train halted, Singh jumped off and started to run from there but was given a chase by the RPF and GRP that rushed to Mira Road station and pinned him down along with his weapon.

He was taken to Mira Road station police post and put under detention even as top RPF, GRP and other officials rushed to investigate the tragedy.

Besides Meena, posted with RPF Dadar, the other deceased were identified as passengers Asghar Abbas Shaikh, 48 of Madhubani (Bihar), and Abdulquader Mohammedhussein Bhanpurawala, 62, of Nalasopara (Palghar), while the identity of the third victim in his late-30s is yet to be established.

As per officials, at one point during the mayhem, Singh even tried to hold the passengers hostage at gunpoint, though the exact motives behind his actions are not yet clear.

According to preliminary information, Singh – posted with the WR Lower Parel Workshop – was reportedly in a disturbed state of mind owing to certain family issues.

After a delay of around two hours owing to the on-board horror, the train reached Mumbai Central station and then shifted to the yard where a forensic team, GRP, RPF and local authorities along with senior officers have started a probe. Several window panes of the train had bullet marks and a similar picture was evident even inside the train bogies.

Later this evening, Singh was booked under Indian Penal Code charge of murder, the Arms Act, and the Indian Railway Act, Shisve said.

A special team has been formed for an in-depth probe in the multiple-murder mayhem that shook Maharashtra while RPF Inspector of Borivali Anil Kadam has been appointed the Investigation Officer (IO) in the sensational case.

The bodies of all the victims were shifted to Borivali station and then to the Kandivali Shatabdi Hospital for an autopsy and further formalities before handing over to their kin for the last rites.

Western Railway Divisional Railway Manager Neeraj Verma termed the incident as “very unfortunate” and said it would be probed from all angles. He added that the families of the deceased victims have been contacted and they shall be entitled to compensation as applicable.

Local eyewitnesses said that many of the passengers, scared and shaken alighted at Mira Road station, most were bleary-eyed and too shocked to say anything, a few were clicking videos of the killings and bullet-ridden bogies both from inside and outside the train. -IANS

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