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Wednesday 8 July 2020

Police in Bihar, Bengal try to push unscreened passengers in train to Nagaland

While wannabe passengers who turned violent must be prosecuted, police, a part of the state machinery, have committed a graver offence

Police in the railway stations on both sides of the Bihar-West Bengal border today tried to push unscreened, wannabe passengers in Danapur and Shonepur, videos received by Sirf News suggest.

While the wannabe passengers on the platforms of the said railway stations resorted to violence, breaking the window panes of a coach in Danapur, in the second video, they were heard showering expletives on the passengers inside.

In the third video, a policeman, behind whom several of his colleagues are seen standing as mute spectators, is seen and heard arguing with a passenger inside a coach of the train why the people on the platform must be let in!

Apparent in the series of incidents at these railway stations, police, a part of the state machinery, have no concern for the health of the screened migrant workers who are on their way from Delhi and Gurugram in Haryana to Dimapur in Nagaland.

Sirf News received several messages via WhatsApp from anxious passengers inside the train as well as some of their relatives.

The senders of some of the WhatsApp messages were part of police forces of other states who wondered how their counterparts in Bihar and West Bengal could be so callous about social distancing.

As per the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs for the nationwide lockdown, which has not been lifted entirely, these are punishable offences.

Police in Bihar, Bengal try to push unscreened passengers in train to Nagaland (image inside 1)
Police in Bihar, Bengal try to push unscreened passengers in train to Nagaland (image inside 2)
Two pages from the MHA guidelines

Guidelines 55 (1 and 2), 56 of Annexure III issued by the MHA have strictures against “Offences by Departments of the Government”, which members of the police forces of the two states seem to not care about, as their ignorance in the matter is not likely. Both the guidelines say acts such as the one committed in the railway stations of Bihar and West Bengal are “liable to be proceeded against and punished…” and “punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine”.

Maps of Danapur in Bihar and Shonepur in West Bengal

The people on platform who were trying to barge into the coaches of the train cannot be spared either. The Ministry of Railways, in consultation with the MHA and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has laid out detailed guidelines for passengers willing to avail the services of these trains.

The first four guidelines for train travel, which apply to this Dimapur-bound Shramik Special train, state:

  • Only passengers with confirmed tickets shall be allowed to enter the Railway station.
  • All passengers must wear face covers/masks at the entry and during travel.
  • The passengers shall reach the station at least 90 minutes in advance to facilitate thermal screening at the station. Only passengers who are found asymptomatic will be permitted to travel.
  • Passengers shall observe social distancing both at the station and on trains.

Given that a violation of rules by functionaries of the state machinery is a graver offence, the police forces of Bihar and West Bengal do owe an explanation for pushing people to the risk of contracting the coronavirus disease, which proves fatal in some cases.

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