More than 1000 railway passengers, mostly migrant workers, have became victims of drugging by gangs operating in these trains and at railway stations, in the last two and half years. This has resulted in deaths of a few passengers.
Till October this year, railway officials said that 400 cases of drugging have been reported in Bihar. In the year 2010 and 2011, 600 and 500 such cases were reported respectively.
According to railway ministry sources, 725 cases of drugging were reported in 2007 as against 714 in 2006. Ahead of Diwali and Chath, when thousands of migrant labourers visit Bihar and Jharkhand to celebrate with their families, the ECR has decided to make passengers aware and alert about drugging gangs.
ECR officials admitted that drugging passengers has become a menance. The organised gangs target migrant workers and loot them, they said.
According to ECR sources, the trains and railway stations in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi where these gangs are active have been identified.
ECR's chief safety commissioner Sanjay Kumar said that drugging gangs mostly drugged and looted passengers at Gaya, Dhanbad, Gomo, Allahabad, New Delhi, Aligarh, Mughalsarai, Boaro, Ranchi, Sealdah, Chitranjan, Muri, Hatia, Jamui and Damdam railway stations. "Now, railways had decided to post alert notices in all coaches of these trains and at railway stations to make passengers aware about drugging gangs," he said.
The official of the Railway Protection Force and the Government Railway Police have been directed to keep strict vigil on movement of suspicious people. They are also carrying out joint patrolling in trains. "The RPF will be provided hand held public addressing system to make passengers aware about drugging gangs," Kumar said.
Besides, a handbill in Hindi will be distributed among passengers detailing precautionary steps.
These gangs generally target passengers on the wait list. "They usually travel with confirmed tickets and offer help to passengers on the wait list. After befriending them, the miscreants drug and loot them."