RANCHI: Railway buildings in remote areas of Jharkhand – like cabins and crossing outposts – have come in handy to the Naxalites. There, the rebels are using fans to cool themselves and taking advantage of electricity to charge their mobile phones and torches besides arranging liquor parties for their friends.
Since many of the buildings are considered safe, sources claimed that the rebels at times also store guns and explosives at these facilities.
Quite a few railway employees posted at the southern parts of Ranchi and near Hatia railway station confirmed it. “It (the rebels using the buildings) is going on for a long time. They survive in summer thanks to the railway property,” said an employee posted at a railway cabin on the Ranchi-Rourkela route.
Jharkhand police spokesperson S N Pradhan agreed. “This may be the situation. Especially fans and uninterrupted electricity must be attracting the rebels,” he said. There are around 80 railway cabins in Ranchi division and almost 40% of them are in remote areas where the rebels’ writ rules.
A GRP official posted in Hatia informed TOI that at any given time one could find several chargers (of mobile phones) lying at these cabins. “Cabin men don’t inform police following threats from the rebels.”
But there is more to the story. A GRP inspector said the cabins and crossing outposts were also used for the rebels to store arms, though briefly.
“It is generally done when the rebels ferry the arms from one point to another,” said a source.
Inspection by railway officials (telecom and administration) is generally done in the morning so the Naxalites assemble at the cabins only after sunset.
Generally in a group the rebels smoke ganja, indulge in chatting, make merry and finally the party starts. The cabin men also often join such parties. Plans to ask for money, make extortion calls and unleash violence are also chalked up at these railway buildings.
Khunti SP M Tamilvanan said an area commander Kariya Sagu was arrested while he was making a plan at a railway cabin at Govindpur railway station, about 50 km from here, on the Ranchi-Rourkela route in December 2011.
Sources say such activities are frequently seen at the railway cabins and crossing outposts near Karra, Govindpur, Kurkura, Lodma and other halts on the Ranchi-Rourkela route. It is not the job of the GRP to protect these buildings as they fall under the jurisdiction of local police.
Ranchi divisional railway manager G Malaya passed the buck on state police. He said, “It is the responsibility of the state police to keep our properties safe. The cabin men live alone in jungles and they can’t afford to stand up against the rebels.”
Police spokesperson Pradhan has assured action. “We will collect information about this and have raids conducted to nab the rebels,” he said.
Khunti SP, on his part, said he would ask local police stations concerned to make surprise visits to these cabins.
Finally, it is the railways which pays for the rebels.