2,700 Ansars to stop train sabotage

News Desk :
The home ministry has approved the deployment of 2,700 Ansar personnel across Bangladesh to prevent vandalism and acts of arson on trains amid hartals or shutdowns.

Despite the shortage of manpower, Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan has ensured that train service will remain normal, reports bdnews24.com

On Tuesday, the minister emphasised the need for everyone’s cooperation to make the railway safe for the public. Currently, 300 trains run up and down the country every day.

On Tuesday, the Mohanganj Express was set ablaze by arsonists in Dhaka amid a transport blockade called by the BNP. Three compartments of the train were completely gutted in the incident. Four people, including a child, were burnt to death in the fire.

On Dec 13, seven coaches of the Mohanganj Express were derailed in the early morning hours as criminals uprooted the connecting plates from the railway tracks.

One person was killed, and several others, including the locomaster of the train, sustained severe injuries.

Since BNP’s rally on Oct 28, multiple trains have been set on fire in different parts of the country, including Dhaka, Sylhet, Jamalpur, Joypurhat and Narayaganj.

The police and leaders of the ruling party have blamed the BNP and its affiliated groups for the incidents of arson and vandalism in Bangladesh ahead of the 12th parliamentary elections.
Minister Sujan believes the anti-government protests and the sudden rise in the vandalism of trains are connected.

“Earlier, the arsonists only set fire to trucks,” he pointed out, “but now they are targeting the railways.”

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According to the minister, the law enforcers are working on identifying the culprits.

He also remarked that such incidents had also occurred during 2013 and 2014.

“If the passenger trains are set on fire, it will never be possible for the railways to ensure the safety of the passengers.”

An inquiry committee has been formed to deal with the ongoing vandalism of trains amid the BNP and Jamaat’s anti-government protests.

The accounts of the damage will be disclosed once the report is complete.

BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, for his part, alleged that the government was sabotaging these trains and blaming it on the opposition party to derail his party’s movement to topple the government.

But Minister Sujan said despite Rizvi’s condemnation of the Gazipur incident, the opposition party believes hampering train movement will aid their anti-government campaign.

“Political programmes can be held in any democratic country. But by terrorising the railways, they are posing a threat to public safety,” he said.

He added that the railways ministry has held several meetings to ensure the safety of passengers in order to prevent the sabotage of trains amid the hartals.