The anti CAA violence had kicked off from the state of West Bengal and had then spread to the rest of the country. A distinct and remarkable feature of the violence in West Bengal was widespread damage to rail assets. West Bengal Chief Minister, however, gave complete freedom to vandals and miscreants targeting rail property to run riot in the state of West Bengal. Even in the state of Assam, the railways have suffered widespread damage.
There have been disturbing visuals of such communally enraged violent mobs pelting stones at running trains carrying passengers. The vandals have also been inflicting structural damage on the railway tracks, setting them on fire and vandalising critical infrastructure to cause derailments and nasty accidents. The vandals and hooligans ran riot in West Bengal torching 5 trains and 3 railway stations, apart from attacking and vandalising several other railway assets. These protesters not just torched and vandalised public property, but also targeted innocent citizens.
Violence had also taken grip of Malda in West Bengal even as the hooligans vandalised the Bhaluka railway station on Sunday. They even resorted to arson and set the ticket counter on fire, even as hundreds of agitators blocked the tracks at the railway station. A video of the burnt rake of 13113/13114 Hazar Duari Express strongly illustrates the brute violence and arson that the Indian Railways had to suffer due to state impunity in West Bengal. The charred coaches of this train epitomise the raw violence that was perpetrated on the rail assets in West Bengal. Not a single coach of the train has been spared by the miscreants and hooligans which had run riot in the state ruled by the Mamata led government earlier this month.
This was once the rake of Hazar Duari Express
Train number(s): 13113/13114
Not a single coach was spared by the Zeehadis during Anti #CAA protests in West Bengal!@RailMinIndia, please display this rake in major railway stations across WB, the rioters must be blamed & shamed. pic.twitter.com/IKu9xNRH96
— জয়দীপ 🇮🇳 (@Joydeep4Bharat) December 27, 2019
Uluberia station, Bengal.
On #SardarVallabhbhaiPatel’s death anniversary, we are witnessing young boys being trained to throw stones at the nation he brought together inch by inch.#BengalBurns #JihadisBurnBengal pic.twitter.com/1iF2qk3M1e
— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) December 15, 2019
This Railway Station was torched by anti-CAA rioters in West Bengal.
Those who torched this station didn’t have tiranga and Bapu’s picture in their hands, They were arsonists.
— Rajesh Jaswal (@rajeshjaswalbjp) December 30, 2019
The crisis in West Bengal got further exacerbated due to the casual attitude of TMC supremo, Mamata Banerjee who downplayed the destruction and arson of rail properties by arguing, “Just because few trains were set on fire, Centre has stopped railway services in most parts of Bengal.”
Railway Board Chairman, V.K. Yadav has now said, “The railways suffered a loss to the tune of Rs 80 crore in form of arson and violence on railway premises in West Bengal.” Yadav has made it clear that the railways will recover the cost of losses caused to their premises from the vandals and arsonists. He has also said that the amount could go up even further as the amount as the exact figure is yet to come from the zonal railways.
Giving a break up of the estimated losses suffered by the railways, the Railway Board Chairman said, “There has been damage of railway property worth Rs 80 crore during anti-CAA protests. Of this, the Eastern Railway suffered damage worth Rs 70 crore and the damage suffered by the Northeast Frontier Railway was worth Rs. 10 crore.” He added, “The damage will be recovered from those found involved in arson and violence. This, however, is a preliminary estimate and the figure could go up after the final analysis.”
While there is lucid and clear evidence about who had damaged rail property in the state of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee’s support to the arsonists and vandals, as well as to illegal Bangladeshi immigrants has made it clear that the West Bengal government will not try to protect public and rail property. Vote bank politics is clearly a bigger consideration for Mamata Banerjee than safeguarding public and rail property.
The Railways, however, is in no mood to be apologist towards hooligans and arsonists. Mamata Banerjee government may be apathetic towards the destruction of rail property, giving a free hand to rioters, and it may not even try to recover damages from the vandals but the railways are in no mood to take losses to its assets for granted. Railways want to recover every single penny that has been lost due to the violence caused by anti CAA hooligans.
Sources indicate that those found guilty of damaging rail property would be charged under Section 151 of the Indian Railway Act, that can result in a punishment of up to 7 years. Sources also say that the railways can also go to Court to recover the losses suffered by during violence in West Bengal. The railway authorities have therefore made it crystal clear that Mamata Banerjee will not be allowed to protect the miscreants who had run riot in West Bengal, damaging tracks, stations and trains. Mamata Banerjee has no legitimate or moral authority to keep such violent elements protected from State action and let perpetrators off the hook. They will be charged and punished under the relevant provisions even if the state government does not cooperate.
Mamata Banerjee, being a former Railway Minister must understand that rail property is not a joke. The railways won’t bear unnecessary losses just because a megalomaniac politician wants to indulge in appeasement politics. Those who damaged rail property in West Bengal are bigoted vandals of the worst kind, and the railway authorities are set to strong example against such vandals.