Kasaragod/Thiruvananthapuram | The opposition Congress in Kerala on Tuesday questioned how safe rail travel was in the state in the wake of increasing incidents of stone pelting on trains in the southern state of late.
Even as the Congress raised the concern and demanded stringent action against those indulging in such activities, Hosdurg police in Kasaragod district of the state have taken into custody around 50 people found in suspicious circumstances near railway tracks.
The police action comes in the wake of stones being thrown at a Rajdhani Express on Monday when it was running between Kanhangad and Nileshwar in the northern Kerala district.
In the second incident later in the day, a Vande Bharat train was pelted with stones when it was between Tanur and Tirur in Malappuram district at around 5.10 PM.
Referring to the second incident, Congress MP K Muraleedharan said that his daugher-in-law and child were travelling on that train.
"So, how will people dare to travel on trains with their family and children if this is the situation? When the Chief Minister travels by train, they use drones to monitor.
"Why has no strict action been taken against those throwing stones on trains? It is unfortunate. If this continues, travelling by train will become totally unsafe," he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Congress MP, who is a former president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and the son of legendary Congress leader K Karunakaran, said that everyone was clamouring for more trains.
"But if stones are being thrown at trains already allocated to the state, then what will it all lead to? Stringent steps should be taken by the government to prevent such activities.
"The CM should issue strict directions in this regard. Those responsible should be arrested and brought before the law," Muraleedharan said.
In Kasaragod, meanwhile, senior police officers inspected the railway tracks near Kanhangad in the morning and during the same, around 50 people found in suspicious circumstances were taken into custody and questioned, the district administration said in a statement.
An officer of Hosdurg police station said that those taken into custody were still being questioned and none of them has been arrested yet.
Besides that, Hosdurg police has also lodged a case under Section 152 (maliciously hurting or attempting to hurt persons travelling by railway) of the Railways Act which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment, the statement said.
It also said that CCTV cameras and additional manpower have been deployed along the tracks for secret surveillance.
Police will also conduct covert surveillance of houses near the tracks, it added.
Incidents of stone pelting on trains were reported on August 13 when the Mangaluru-Chennai Superfast Express and Netravati Express were attacked by miscreants in Kannur district.
On August 16, a window of a Vande Bharat Express was damaged in a similar incident.
Prior to that, the Vande Bharat train was pelted with stones a couple of times in May after it was launched in Kerala in April this year