On Monday, a deliberate attempt to derail a train on the route of Ahmedabad-Bhavnagar track was averted saving the lives of the locomotive pilot and a guard. The incident came to light when an alert railway employee informed the rail officials that a large number of clips that fasten the rail tracks had been separated from the concrete sleepers.
While sometimes thieves also steal metal pieces from the railway tracks, the police during the investigation said that the clips had been removed from the track to derail trains intentionally. This was concluded because the clips were found nearby.
According to the reports, around 234 clips at the Matoda and Maroiya route were removed from the track and thrown into the bushes on the sides of the track. Railway officials confirmed the incident and immediately informed the police.
A railway official said, “The incident came to light when a railway employee was patrolling the route and spotted that the clips were missing from a portion of the track. The employee informed the seniors and then the railway protection force.” The incident was reported at 8.3 0am, following which train movement along the track was stopped. A DEMU train with just a locomotive pilot and a guard, which was about to travel on the route was stopped in time.
“The train movement was stopped for around two and a half hours. Any train that chugged along the track would have been derailed”, the Police was quoted. The Railway Officers meanwhile informed that the track had been recently converted from metre gauge to broad gauge in Moraiya. He also said that no passenger train was allowed on the track after it was aligned.
It is important to note that the incident has occurred days before the 20th anniversary of the Godhra tragedy, in which 59 Hindu pilgrims were burnt alive in a train. The incident was followed by riots in several parts of the state in the year 2002.
On the morning of 27 February 2002, the Sabarmati Express, returning from Ayodhya to Ahmedabad, had stopped at the Godhra railway station. The passengers were Hindu pilgrims, the karsevaks of the Ram Mandir movement returning from Ayodhya. A Muslim mob had attacked the karsevaks in the train by pelting stones at them, and after that torched four coaches of the train with many people trapped inside. In the resulting conflagration, 59 people were burned to death. The 20th anniversary of the Godhra tragedy will be observed on February 27, 2022. Reportedly, the mob had locked the doors from outside and poured fuel into the coaches.
In the present case, along with the Police, the Railway Protection Force also investigated the matter and confirmed that the attempt to derail the train was deliberate. Reports mention that other agencies are also likely to carry out an investigation in the case.
The Sabarmati Police has filed a complaint under section 150 of the Railways Act for the intentional attempt to derail the train.