New Delhi: A Railway Protection Force jawan on Monday (July 31) morning shot dead four people who were on a train near the Palghar railway station in Maharashtra. Among those killed was an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) and three passengers – all Muslim men with beards – across nine carriages.
“Four casualties, including the ASI, have been reported in the firing incident inside the Jaipur Express train (12956). The accused has been arrested. DCP North GRP has been informed,” ANI quoted the RPF as saying.
The accused RPF constable has been identified as Chetan Singh. According to the PTI and Hindustan Times, Singh first shot dead a senior officer, Tikaram Meena in coach B-5. He then shot and killed a passenger, Abdul Kaderbhai Bhanpurwala, a passenger in the same coach.
Singh then walked through four coaches without using his weapon until he came across a passenger in the pantry car, identified as Sadar Mohammed Hussain, and killed him
Singh then walked through two other coaches before shooting his third victim, Asghar Abbas Shaikh in coach S-6.
The Hindustan Times reports:
“All three passengers were bearded. As Asghar’s body toppled onto the narrow corridor, Singh rested the hilt of his assault weapon on the side seat and began a short hate-filled rant against Muslims that he asked the bystanders to record for the media’s consumption.”
A purported video of Chetan Singh speaking to passengers while standing over Asghar’s bloodied body was went viral on social media in which the RPF constable says:
“Pakistan se operate hue hain, tumhari media, yahi media coverage dikha rahi hai hai, pata chal raha hai unko, sab pata chal raha hai, inke aaqa hai wahan… Agar vote dena hai, agar Hindustan me rehna hai, toh mai kehta hoon, Modi aur Yogi, ye do hain, aur aapke Thackeray”
(‘They operate from Pakistan, this is what the media of the country is showing, they have found out, they know everything, their leaders are there… If you want to vote, if you want to live in India, then I say, Modi and Yogi, these are the two, and your Thackeray’)
The Indian Express quoted a source as saying that Kumar started firing after getting into an argument with Tika Ram. “Kumar and his senior ASI Tika Ram were deployed in the train for security during which the firing incident took place after an argument between Kumar and Ram,” the source said.
A Western Railway official in Mumbai told The Indian Express that a fight had allegedly broken out following “an argument over communities”, though the reason behind the shooting is yet to be clear.
“It is regretted that ASI Tika Ram and three passengers were shot at. Constable Chetan Kumar got down near Dahisar and tried to flee after pulling the alarm chain. But, he was arrested by RPF Bhayandar along with the weapon,” an official told the newspaper. “Our probe is on and we are questioning the accused and other passengers to ascertain the exact reason and sequence of events.”
The RPF has said that ex gratia compensation will be given to the families of those killed.
P.C. Sinha, Inspector General cum Principal Chief Security Commissioner, Western Railway, said, “Constable Chetan Singh is a short-tempered person and suffering from mental health issues. He first shot his superior and then shot those who came in front of him.”