Kerala: A distressing incident unfolded in the early hours of Thursday as a fire erupted in a coach of the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express train, which was stationed at the Kannur railway station in Kerala. Authorities are diligently investigating the cause of the fire, aiming to determine if it was an unfortunate accident or a deliberate act of sabotage. Thankfully, no injuries were reported as all passengers had safely disembarked before the incident occurred.
The alarm was raised around 1:30 am when the Kannur Fire and Rescue Station received information about the blaze. By the time the rescue team arrived at the scene, the coach was already engulfed in flames, as captured in dramatic visuals broadcasted by television channels. Swift action was taken with the deployment of four fire tenders, and by 3:15 am, the valiant efforts of the firefighters succeeded in extinguishing the raging inferno. Authorities from the railway department suspect foul play and have dispatched a forensic team to conduct a thorough investigation at the site.
In a statement, the Railways revealed, “Officials are suspecting a miscreant activity behind the fire. Based on a complaint given by the on-duty station master, a case has been registered by GRP [Government Railway Police]. A forensic team has also reached the incident site.”
Unfortunately, this marks the second fire incident within a short span of time involving the same train. On April 2, a tragic event unfolded when a 27-year-old man, Shahrukh Saifi from Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, set his co-passengers ablaze on the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express train. The horrifying incident took place near the Korapuzha bridge in Elathur, Kozhikode, resulting in the loss of three lives, including that of an innocent baby. Nine other passengers suffered burn injuries, while the bodies of the deceased were discovered on the tracks, indicating their desperate attempt to escape the engulfing flames. Shahrukh Saifi was later apprehended by authorities in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.
Following this distressing incident, opposition parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress launched scathing criticisms against the ruling LDF government in Kerala. PK Krishnadas, a BJP national executive member and chairman of the Indian Railways’ Passenger Amenities Committee (PAC), expressed deep concerns about the recurring incidents, which have generated fear and anxiety among the general public, especially train travelers.
He questioned the repeated occurrence of such tragedies in Kerala, urging authorities to address the matter promptly. The PAC, a body under the Railways ministry, holds the responsibility of ensuring passenger comfort and safety on trains and at stations.
Echoing similar sentiments, K Surendran, President of the BJP’s Kerala unit, attributed the relative peace in the state to the concerted efforts of the Central government and its agencies. He insinuated that without their intervention, Kerala would have fallen victim to alleged extremist and terror groups, accusing the state government of prioritizing political gains over national security. Meanwhile, VD Satheesan, a Congress leader and the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, highlighted the deep sense of insecurity instilled in people by such incidents.
He called upon the state government to intervene and implement stringent safety measures to protect the lives of passengers. Satheesan also criticized the police, alleging a lack of seriousness in handling such cases, citing the Kerala Police’s investigation into the Elathur train arson incident.
As the investigation progresses, authorities are committed to uncovering the truth behind the recurring train fires and ensuring the safety of passengers in Kerala.
In the early hours of Thursday, a devastating incident unfolded at the Kannur railway station in Kerala as a fire broke out in a coach of the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express train. The flames originated in the third-last coach of the train, which was stationed near a Bharat Petroleum fuel depot. Prompt action was taken by authorities to control the situation, and while no injuries were reported, the incident has raised concerns about the safety and security of train travel in the region. As investigators diligently work to unravel the cause of the fire, the incident has reignited discussions on the need for enhanced safety measures and greater vigilance in the transportation sector.
Authorities were alerted to the fire around 1:30 am, and by the time the rescue team arrived at the scene, the coach was already engulfed in flames. The visuals captured by television channels depicted the horrifying spectacle of towering infernos roaring through the windows of the ill-fated coach. With utmost urgency, four fire tenders were deployed to combat the blaze, and their heroic efforts eventually brought the flames under control by 3:15 am. The railway officials, suspecting foul play, have launched an investigation into the incident, with a forensic team dispatched to the site to gather evidence and shed light on the circumstances surrounding the fire.
This unfortunate event marks the second fire incident to plague the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express train within a matter of months. On April 2, tragedy struck when a 27-year-old man deliberately set his co-passengers ablaze, resulting in the loss of three lives, including that of a defenseless baby. The incident occurred near the Korapuzha bridge in Elathur, Kozhikode, and left nine other passengers with severe burn injuries. The bodies of the deceased were discovered on the tracks, underscoring the desperate attempts made by passengers to escape the raging flames. The accused, identified as Shahrukh Saifi from Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, was subsequently apprehended in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.
The recurrence of such distressing incidents has sparked a heated political debate, with opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, criticizing the state government’s handling of the situation. PK Krishnadas, a BJP national executive member and the chairman of the Indian Railways’ Passenger Amenities Committee (PAC), expressed deep concerns about the fear and anxiety gripping the public, particularly among train passengers. He questioned why such incidents are recurring in Kerala and called for swift action to address the underlying issues. The PAC, responsible for monitoring passenger amenities on trains and at stations, plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and well-being of travelers.