Guwahati Railway Station: A Perennial Hub of Illegal Activities, Railway Police on constant Alert
Over 900 kg ganja seized by railway police in 2018
Attempts to smuggle ganja (cannabis) from the northeastern states to the northern and western cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai etc has become a regular affair and so has confiscation of ganja by the Government Railway Police (GRP) at the Guwahati railway station. In 2018, the GRP seized 911 kgs 300 grams of ganja, and apprehended a total of 54 people in connection with smuggling of narcotics substances.
Among other such substances seized during the year were over 3 lakh tablets, 3 kgs 600 grams of morphine, 277 grams of heroine, 7 kgs 50 grams of opium and 1,095 bottles of Phensedyl cough syrup.
Additionally, police also seized a total of 1,545 bottles of liquor made in Arunachal Pradesh of which 1,394 bottles were of whiskey and 151 were beer bottles.
According to highly placed sources in the police, Rajdhani Express (Down) has become the most convenient and frequently used train to transport narcotics from the northeastern states to other states.
In one of the recent incidents, GRP personnel had seized 15 kgs of ganja and arrested one person in this connection from Guwahati railway station. The person, KR Rang from Manipur, was travelling by Rajdhani Express (Down) from Dimapur to New Delhi.
On July 3 last, at least 34 kilos of ganja was seized by the GRP. One Subhuraj Dasgupta tried to smuggle the consignment to New Delhi from Agartala on the Rajdhani Express.
“The Rajdhani Express is a fully air-conditioned train. Compared to other trains security personnel tend to give the train a more cursory look. The first impression of the peddlers on the train is that the passengers are well off and they would get away unnoticed by being among them. This happens when the peddlers carry small consignments with them. However, huge consignments are carried elsewhere in the train,” the sources informed.
GRP seizes over 19 kilos of gold, arrests 9
The Government Railway Police (GRP) recovered a whopping 19 kilos 796 grams of gold in the year 2018 and apprehended nine people in connection with gold smuggling. The value of the recovered gold has been calculated at Rs 5,86,29,565.
The biggest haul of 2018 was on October 22 when 7 kgs 998 grams of the precious metal amounting to Rs 2,62,75,565 was seized from a passenger at the city railway station.
A train checking party of the GRP seized five gold bars weighing 7998.770 gm from a youth bound for Kolkata from Guwahati Railway Station on October 22.
The youth, identified as Kiran Vishwanath Patil (31), hailing from Maharashtra, was supposed to board the Saraighat Express that day. Patil was arrested while loitering on Platform No. 2 of the railway station and his ticket showed coach number A1 and seat number 23. The consignment of the five gold bars worth Rs 2,62,00,000 was kept hidden under the waist belt by the youth. The youth was handed over to the Customs for further action.
Superinendent of Railway Police (SRP) HK Das had said, "The gold was seized at around 12 PM during a routine check on board the Saraighat Express while it was halted at Guwahati railway station."
Guwahati has become a hub for smuggling of gold from Myanmar, via Manipur and Mizoram. Gold smuggling on the railways has seen a sharp rise in recent years. While in 2016, GRP had seized 19.31 kgs of gold worth Rs 57,95,340, it went up to almost 75 kgs worth Rs 22,48,10,670 in 2017.
Further, the Government Railway Police also recovered cash amounting to Rs 86 lakhs and apprehended two persons in connection.
“A passenger is only allowed to carry cash up to Rs 50,000 while travelling via trains in India. He/she needs to produce documents for cash over Rs 50,000. The two parties failed to produce valid documents and were hence apprehended,” informed a source in the railway police.
Huge cache of AK47 bullets recovered by Railway Police
A huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered by the Government Railway Police (GRP) last year which included 227 rounds of AK47 ammunitions, 48 rounds of SLR ammunitions, 21 rounds of revolver ammunition and one .32 revolver.
The .32 bore revolver along with 21 rounds of ammunition was seized from two passengers of Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express at Guwahati railway station on the morning of August 30. A joint team of GRP and CRPF personnel seized the revolver and ammunition from Suman Kumar, 26, and Vinit Kumar, 40, both hailing from Bhagalpur district in Bihar and arrested the duo.
A case (number 232/18) was registered at GRP police station at Guwahati railway station in connection with the seizure under Section 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) of the IPC, Section 25 (1A) of the Arms Act and Section 164 of the Railways Act.
In connection to the crimes, the police have registered two cases, both pending investigation. Further, two people have been arrested.
In a recent incident, the GRP recovered a huge amount of explosives from Guwahati Railway Station on February 4, 2019. Based on a tip-off, a team of GRP recovered 22 packets of 440 gelatins, around 700 detonators packed in 7 packets and 3 bundles of fuse wires from platform number 3 of the Guwahati railway station.
16 children, 9 adults rescued from human traffickers by GRP
Government Railway Police (GRP) successfully rescued 16 children and 9 adults from railway premises like station and trains, during the period from January to December 2018. 14 human traffickers were also arrested red-handed who were trying to transport children and women in trains and eight cases have been registered.
Additionally, the GRP has recovered 137 children from the premises, who had been announced missing.
In one such incident of human trafficking, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) rescued two minor boys and a girl from an alleged trafficker identified as Momina Khatun (24) from Guwahati railway station on July 30. According to RPF source, Momina Khatun hails from Dhing under Nogaon district.
The four of them were spotted roaming suspiciously on Platform number 1 of the station for which the RPF interrogated and apparently Momina confessed to her motive behind the journey. During the interrogation, the trafficked minors revealed that Momina was taking them to Delhi promising better jobs. Later, the kids were handed over to the GRP and their respective parents were called.
Guwahati has seen a rapid rise in human trafficking cases. According to recent data 8,443 children went missing from the state during the last five years. The number of missing children from Assam has seen a rise from the previous year when 1,839 cases were registered in 2017. Further, merely 4,377 missing children were recovered in the last five years.
Experts believe that it is because of the socio-economic and political realities, such as conflict and marginalisation of communities in hill areas, agricultural crisis and displacement; there are a lot of people – mainly women and children – who are deceitfully trafficked or they go out looking for alternative occupations which finally becomes unsafe migration and they get stuck in this vicious cycle of exploitation.
Officials say that Guwahati is fast becoming a “source centre” for trafficking children to other states of the northeast as well as places like Haryana, Delhi, Punjab and Kolkata.