Friday, July 17, 2009

Special armed force deployed in railways

Soumittra S Bose, TNN 18 July 2009, 05:50am IST

NAGPUR: The highly-trained 12th Battalion of Railway Protection Special Force, equipped with sophisticated arms, has been deployed in Nagpur division recently for the first time to beef up security between Nagpur, Raipur and Durg. Apart from securing the trains from gangs of dacoits, the latest deployment is also likely to act as a shield against the Naxal threat.

A special squad from the battalion, the origin of which can be traced back to the turbulent period of Indo-China war in early 60s, has been deployed on premium trains like Ahmedabad-Howrah Express, Mumbai-Howrah Express, Geetanjali Express and Shivnath Express. Model stations like Nagpur, Gondia, Itwari, Dongargadh and Rajnandgaon have also been secured with additional security by a company originally known as Special Emergency Force (SEF).

Though shifted recently from Mumbai for special duties, the force would also cater to several other trains and earmarked zones, which require intense vigilance including stretches known to be vulnerable to Naxal's sabotage attacks.

Senior divisional security commissioner of South East Central Railways K K Sharma said that additional walkie-talkies and dragon lights have been provided to each patrolling party comprising of eight personnel from RPSF assisted by two local Railway Protection Force jawans and headed by a nominated squad commander. The company is part of the battalion that has worked in security sensitive locations like Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, apart from Naxal hot spots in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

"This force is young, trained and tenacious. We can depend on their abilities," said Sharma, hinting that this force would engage in intense patrolling in trains and conduct thorough checking, while addressing personnel before they set off for assignment in the Geetanjali Express. The deployment would function under company commanders K K Tiwary of RPSF and Mohammed Riyazuddin of RPF.

Apart from sophisticated firearms, the special force would carry forms using which citizens can lodge FIRs while in transit, albums of known criminals and also feedback forms. Sharma also instructed the force to keep a close watch on the railway pantry vendors, coach attendants and linen supervisors. "Often, we have traced nexus between railway staff and the offenders," said Sharma.

The force has a double responsibility of tackling rising crimes like the latest robbery in a long-distance train, where valuables worth Rs 1.90 lakh were stolen, and also take care of the security of the railways against anti-national elements like the Naxals. "The force personnel would work in close co-ordination with the driver, guard and conductor of the train," said Sharma.

Be polite'

NAGPUR: Senior divisional security commissioner of South East Central Railway K K Sharma has reminded Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) personnel that there is a need for etiquette and politeness in interaction with passengers. Sharma cautioned the young brigade of the company, during his address at the Motibagh company commander barrack on Friday, not to lose their tempers but to maintain calm. "Refer to your seniors rather than picking up a fight," said Sharma who stressed that personnel should also wish good morning' and good evening' while talking to passengers.

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