No CCTV in Railway Station to detect who else had boarded particular ‘SLR-D Coach’

Guwahati, July 11: There is no CCTV system installed in the Sivasagar Railway Station from which the unfortunate girl student of Assam Agricultural University, Radha Kumari, had boarded the Kamakhya Express on Tuesday morning. Around 15-20 minutes later she was found dead inside a toilet of the Kamakhya Express that had halted for few minutes at Simaluguri Railway Junction.

Her body was found around 9.10 am. She had boarded the train around 8:50 am. What transpired between the time that she boarded and the time at which her body was recovered is still a mystery but it is clear from her injury marks that someone murdered her brutally. According to the police, the girl was lying in a pool of blood in semi-clad condition when the body was recovered. The possibility of rape is also not being ruled out at present.

Lack of closed-circuit television systems (CCTVs) at the Sivasagar railway station like many other stations in Assam is a glitch on the part of the authorities that can’t be overlooked anymore. There is also a scarcity of security personnel in the railway stations and trains.

The mother of the unfortunate girl, while speaking to media, stated that there was a man on board the coach and who was trying to help her daughter get on when she had gone to the Sivasagar Railway Station to drop her on Saturday morning. She has also revealed that the coach was almost empty and there seemed to be no one else in that particular coach. There was no sign of any security personnel nearby, she added. She is also suspecting that the particular man in the coach has murdered her daughter.

It has also come to light that CCTV cameras are not installed in most of the other railway stations preceding Sivasagar Railway Station to detect the person who was on board the coach- SLR-D, which is not connected with other coaches of the train, according to Railway authorities. A CCTV system is in place at the Dibrugarh Railway Station but whether that person actually boarded the train from Dibrugarh is another piece of guesswork.

Speaking to TIME8, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) CPRO, PJ Sharma admitted that there CCTV hasn’t been installed in Sivasagar Railway Station like many other railway stations in Assam. He also revealed that CCTVs are also being installed as per traffic and stations with low traffic don’t have CCTVs notwithstanding the fact that stations with less traffic might be prone to crime.

He said, “The Sivasagar railway station is not equipped with CCTVs. In Assam, the CCTVs are being installed as per the traffic flow. Stations with more traffic flow like Guwahati, Rangiya, Tinsukia, Lumding, Dibrugarh and so on are equipped with CCTVs.”

Lack of proper security in the trains is another issue that got highlighted as the railway CPRO stated mobile security teams are deployed with a precoceived notion of crime rates being higher at some particular stations and trains.

He said, “We deploy a mobile security party in some of the trains. Generally, the team comprises of two male and a female personnel. They keep a tab on the suspicious movements in the trains where the crime rates are higher. Trains like Kamrup, Shatabdi have mobile security.”

It must be noted that earlier under the Nirbhaya Fund, 436 railway stations were covered and 547 more railway stations are supposed to be covered under the fund this year. But this is a relatively small number in comparison to the approved CCTV cameras in 58,276 train coaches and 5,121 railway stations. Around Rs 3000 Crore will be required for the entire project and with only Rs 500 crore allocated by the Fianance Ministry, the Railways are now looking to raise around Rs 2500 crore for the CCTV project through IRFC. When it will be actually materialized is a big question now.

Assam Police has meanwhile formed a SIT led by an ASP from Sivasagar and started investigation. They have also requested anyone with information to come forward without fear to help the investigators.