Thursday, June 18, 2009

AK-47 protection for trains

Jamshedpur, June 17: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

A company of Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF), armed with AK-47s and walkie-talkie sets, will now escort several trains that pass through the rebel belt of Chakradharpur, Goelkera and Manoharpur in Jharkhand and Rourkela and Jharsuguda in neighbouring Orissa.

A spate of Naxalite attacks in the Chakradharpur division in the recent past has prompted the South Eastern Railway authorities to requisition the services of the specialists. Till now, only the Howrah-Rajdhani Express in this division was provided with Railway Protection Force escorts armed with sten guns.

RPF security commissioner (Chakradharpur) M.S. Rana said the company had already arrived from Lucknow. “A section of the force is already on the job, escorting the Utkal Express and Tata-Alleppy Express.” The other trains to be escorted are Howrah-Mumbai Geetanjali, Howrah-Ahmedabad, Howrah-Pune Azad Hind and Tata-Yashwantpur Express. Sources said requisition for one more company of RPSF would be sent to the RPF headquarters in New Delhi shortly.

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