It’s not just passengers who are at risk, loco pilots and other staff also are

It was just a trial run but vandals hurled a stone and made a gaping hole in the window of a coach of the brand new double-decker train, scheduled to run between Bangalore and Chennai, on Friday. No one was injured, fortunately.

Regulars know the hazards of keeping train windows open and South Western Railway (SWR) officials are finding themselves at their wits’ end. Rules under Section 145 (B) and 147 of the Railways Act, 1989 mention a mere Rs. 500 penalty if the stone pelting does not result in injury or death. “The process of arresting the offenders and presenting them before the court is lengthy, a Railway Protection Force (RPF) official, told The Hindu.

“Sometimes, offenders are let off by the court because they are poor or minors.”

The 4.5-km stretch between Hebbal and Banaswadi has seen any number of stone-throwing vandals but only four have been prosecuted in the last two months. And only 13 have been prosecuted in the city over the last one year. The instances are also common in Nayandahalli area and the stretch between Malleswaram and Sriramapura.

A frequent traveller to Mysore said passengers routinely pull down the metal shutters every time the train passes through Nayandahalli and Kengeri.

RPF inspector C.S. Chengappa said, “Most of the offenders are minors, whom we counsel in their parents’ presence. In the last couple of months, we caught four adults and prosecuted them.” He added that instances of such vandalism had been on the rise in recent times.

According to Sandeep Mehra, Additional Division Railway Manager, SWR, stone throwing not only injures passengers — some of them severely — but also loco pilots and other railway staff.

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