Source: IndiaToday – The July 2005 London subway bombings and the July 2006 serial train blasts in Mumbai led the United States’ Transportation Security Administration ( TSA) to enhance security of the US passenger rail system. While the TSA was ready with its plans, India, with the world’s largest rail network with 9000 trains, took no immediate action, making each of the 20 mn users into sitting ducks for a major terror attack.
In February 2007, terrorists walked in undetected into the Old Delhi railway station and placed timer- bombs inside the Samjhauta Express which runs from Delhi and Lahore in Pakistan.
The bombs killed 68 persons and injured dozens. Despite so many deaths and repeated attacks, our rail network still lacks basic security measures. A recent report by a high- level committee comprising officers from the Railways, the Railway Protection Force, Intelligence Bureau, CISF, Delhi Police and the National Security Guard, confirms that Indian Railways needs a Composite Security Plan.
The top priority before the security and law enforcement agencies is to secure railway tracks, junctions and terminuses, and the coaches in which passengers travel. Railway tracks also comprise vulnerable bridges and tunnels, which are, even in 2008, handled by an outdated system. The second challenge is to secure access to the railway station by fencing it and screening passengers and the luggage.
Third, we need to ensure that the railway coaches are secure in the rail yards and when moving.
These fundamental security measures are not in place.