Do not accept anything from strangers, RPF personnel say
It was another usual day at the Salem Junction on Thursday. The Salem-Attur-Vridachalam passenger train left the junction at about 9.15 a.m.
As the train was moving, a group of persons including women boarded different compartments and mingled with other passengers. As the journey progressed, they started talking to the fellow passengers and in no time befriended them all.
Moorthy of Andimadam, an Army man with his family members, was also travelling in one such compartment.
The women picked conversation and also offered biscuits and bottled drinks to his children and others who accepted it with glee.
Before the train could reach Attur station, an hour journey, many of the passengers without ascertaining the bona fide identity of the ‘strangers' had developed a sort of friendship and reposed total confidence in them. All this could happen within 40 minutes of travel in the train.
When the train reached Attur station, Divisional Security Officer T. Murugaraj of Railway Protection Force, Salem Railway Division, boarded the train and revealed the identity of the strangers. They were a posse of policemen from Railway Protection Force including woman Sub-Inspector Chitra Devi and 3 women constables. They were on a mission to warn passengers about ‘biscuit bandits' and ensure them a safe journey.
Mr. Murugaraj told the passengers not to accept any thing from strangers while travelling since the ‘biscuit bandits' had been on the prowl robbing the passengers off valuables.
He cited the recent incident in which unidentified persons offered biscuits to two youths when the Mumbai-Kanyakumari Express en route stopped at Salem Junction and looted laptops and other valuables from them.
“Bring your own eatables. Accept none from anyone. Even if you are offered, politely say ‘no,” he said and distributed awareness leaflets to the passengers. He said that the exercise would be continued in future too.