A young Islamist has been arrested in the stone pelting incident at Vande Bharat Express near Tirur in Malappuram. Muhammad Rizwan (19), a native of Tanur, was arrested. Rizwan told the police he had made a mistake while ‘playing.’ He claimed it happened when he threw a pipe to pluck some mangoes.
The incident happened on 1 May while the train traveled from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram. Following the pipe pelting, the window of the C4 coach of the Vande Bharat train developed cracks. Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials detained Rizwan, took him to Shoranur, and handed him over to Kerala Police.
Police said the accused told them it was not done intentionally but happened while playing. They recorded his arrest but released him on station bail.
The train was pelted with steel pipes near Companypadi between Tirur and Tanur in Malappuram. Tirur Police and Railway Police investigated the incident. Rizwan was arrested based on a crucial statement received later.
BJP state president K. Surendran said that releasing the accused who attacked the Vande Bharat train in Malappuram on station bail was a severe mistake. He said in a statement that the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act should be charged against the accused for destroying public property.
The police are trying to save the accused. The attitude of the police who did not take the train attack seriously after the Elathur train arson attack is unjustified. (24-year-old Shahrukh Saifi from Shaheen Bagh, Delhi, had reached Kerala on 2 April, doused fellow passengers in petrol, and set them ablaze near Elathur in Kozhikode district. NIA is investigating that case.)
It should be inquired whether the accused is connected with any subversive organizations. Surendran asked whether the Kerala police were foolish enough to believe the accused claimed it was an accident while playing. There has been political pressure on the police.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Vande Bharat Express in Kerala on 25 April. Within six days of starting the service, Vande Bharat earned Rs.2 crore and seventy lakhs. The Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram service received the highest revenue in terms of tickets.
Meanwhile, last day there was another stone pelting incident on Vande Bharat Express. The stone pelting took place when the train, which was going from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram, reached Kurikad under the Chottanikara police station in Ernakulam. The window of the train was damaged in the attack. RPF has registered a case and started an investigation.
Since it was introduced less than one month ago, the Vande Bharat Express was attacked thrice. Earlier, there was also an attack on Vande Bharat Express near Kannur. In this incident, too, police and RPF have registered a case and started an investigation.