For the recent government move, awareness against stone throwing at moving trains is increasing among people and passengers.
Besides, a few culprits are also being caught red-handed while conducting such misdeeds.
Rewards have been announced for catching miscreants to stop stone throwing. Besides, there is a demand to install protective nets in the train windows.
Recently, Government Railway Police (GRP) caught three miscreants from the capital’s airport railway station. Airport Railway Police Station incharge SI Ali Akbar confirmed this to journalists.
Bangladesh Railway (BR) officials said that there is no shortage of sincerity of the railways to make the trains passenger-friendly. Now the railways are working to raise public awareness including proper enforcement of the law to stop the throwing of stones at moving trains.
In the meantime, BR has identified several places from which stones are thrown. GRP patrols have been arranged in these areas. Besides, a committee has been formed with the prominent people of the areas concerned. A reward of Tk 10,000 has also been announced for anyone who catches a stone thrower.
The places identified where stones are thrown at the moving train under the Eastern Railway are Pahartali in Chattogram, Barbakund in Sitakund, Fazilpur-Kalidah in Feni and Narsingdi Sadar, Jinardi and Ghorashal areas.
On October 10, the Dhaka Division of Railways and GRP conducted an awareness campaign against stone throwing from Kamalapur Railway Station to Tongi Station in Gazipur. At the same time the same programme was observed in other districts of the country.
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan told Bangladesh Post, “Our main goal is to make the railways passenger-friendly. However, in some areas, stones are being thrown at moving trains. To stop this, we have taken various steps including public awareness. Apart from this, it is also being considered to put iron mesh on the panes of the train windows. Hopefully the incidence of stone throwing will gradually decrease.”
According to GRP sources, 80 percent of the children and teenagers in the slums, and drug addicts were involved in the incidents. The slum children were detained but released on bond due to lack of evidence.
According to railway information, in the last nine months, 110 moving trains have been pelted with stones. From January to September this year, 29 passengers were injured in the stone-throwing incidents. A total of 103 train windows were broken. Most of the moving trains were attacked in Chattogram district at Pahartali and Barbakund in Sitakunda.
According to Section 127 of the Railway Act, throwing stones at a train carries a maximum fine of Tk 10,000 including lifetime imprisonment. According to section 302, there is a provision of death penalty if someone dies in stone throwing incidents. However, there is no precedent that anyone has been punished under these laws till now.
It was learned that the railway department has asked for more than 1500 manpower in the railway security forces to stop stone throwing at trains. At a recent meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Railways, the ministry said that if the existing manpower was increased by 1,500, it would be beneficial to take steps to stop stoning of moving trains. In order to avoid this incident, it was recommended to install wire mesh (net) in the window of the train.
Dhaka Railway Range Superintendent of Police Saifullah Al Mamun told reporters, “Earlier 25 people were arrested this year on charges of throwing stones. If anyone helps to catch those responsible involved in throwing stones at the train, a reward of Tk 10,000 will be given. Some activities have already been taken to prevent stone throwing. If anyone can take a picture of throwing stones or send us specific information, we will give the reporter a reward of Tk 5,000.”
Recently, stones were hurled at 8 moving trains in Dhaka division. 15 passengers were injured. The Tongi and Bhairab areas are the most at risk. Stones were also hurled at trains in Tejgaon and Tongi.