Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday promised a job for anyone tipping about sabotage attempts. She also warned of strong action against those indulging in subversive acts.
“If any person can provide information about a possible sabotage, the person will be appointed in the railways….But the police cannot guard every stretch of thousands of kilometres of railway track. People will have to be more vigilant if their security is to be ensured,” Ms. Banerjee said at the Howrah station where she flagged off 17 pairs of new local trains.
“I am asking the people to come forward to help prevent acts of sabotage,” she said. They could help by informing the authorities concerned, who then could take appropriate action.
Referring to the derailment of the Jnaneswari Express and the subsequent incident of a goods train ramming the Express, resulting in the death of 150 people on May 28, and the death in an encounter with the police on August 27 of a prime accused in the case, Umakanta Mahato, an activist of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee, she said: “If anyone thinks that evidence can be removed by such a killing,” that would be wrong.
Coming down strongly on attacks on trains, she said such an activity was tantamount to carrying out acts of “terror against the country's life-line.” “Whoever may be behind such acts, some day the person will be caught,” she cautioned and criticised “acts of sabotage directed at serving one's political interests.”
“Crime has no colour, caste or creed. Crime is crime,” she said.
Condemning pilferage and tampering of railway property with the intent to subvert railway services, she said: “The railways are passenger-friendly. We have not raised the fares despite the rise in prices of diesel. So why engage in sabotage? Development work cannot be stopped in such a manner.”
Ms. Banerjee said the railways would award those who worked well. Giving her promise a political twist, she added: “Political parties will come and go but those who do good work should be rewarded.”