Commuters travelling by train from Chennai Central this week could find proceedings in their compartment being videotaped by police personnel.
The initiative is part of the Railway Protection Force’s (RPF) attempt to enhance safety on board trains.
On Monday, the force also took steps to deal with the issue of transgenders asking passengers for money and held a meeting with representatives of the transgender community.
“Some of them intimidate passengers into giving them money. We asked the community’s representatives to tell their members to stop this. Otherwise, we will start arresting them for creating a public nuisance and travelling without tickets,” said an officer.
With summer vacations about to begin, a large number of residents are making plans to travel over the next couple of months, and it is at these times, police say, that burglars strike.
According to RPF officers, most travellers generally carry a large amount of cash or valuables on them, especially when going on extended vacations. Burglars use this to their advantage and strike by drugging passengers and then looting them.
Their modus operandi is simple: they pick those passengers they believe are susceptible, chat them up and then share a cup of tea or biscuits with them. Then, the passenger is offered an item that is drugged.
“Unsuspecting passengers eat it and start feeling sleepy. As soon as they have dozed off, the burglars loot them and flee,” said an RPF officer
Though there have not been too many such cases in the last few years, the RPF is taking no chances.
“We will take videos of various compartments once passengers have boarded and settled down. This will be stored in our database. If there are any complaints, we can identify the culprit easily,” said an RPF officer.
Besides, instructions have been given to all station personnel to create awareness about drugging through the public address system. “Usually, such crimes are committed in trains that have sleeper compartments. If the culprit attempts to flee in the morning after stealing from passengers, he can be easily caught,” said the RPF officer.
The RPF is also distributing pamphlets to passengers asking them not to consume anything given to them by strangers.