Railway police to train commuters to deal with terror like situation

Railway police looks at training 20 lakh commuters by next year to deal with a terror-like situation on the Mumbai local

More power to you: The railways will impart training to commuters with the help of multimedia presentations where the common man has braved terror in the past.

The unclaimed bag on a local train continues to panic Mumbaikars even today, more than four years after seven bomb blasts brought the city’s lifeline to a grinding halt. But not for too long. The Railways feel it’s time for the everyday commuter to hold his nerve and face his worst fear.

Come September end and the railway police will kick start an initiative — Operation Savdhan — to train commuters to tackle a terror-like situation. The training will help the aam aadmi to keep their cool and extend a helping hand to the police in damage control.

Raj Khilnani, additional director general of police (railways), said, “It becomes difficult for police to monitor all railway establishments and protect them against terror attacks. Any mission against terrorism will be incomplete without the active participation of the public. Therefore, we have come up with this idea where adequate training will be imparted to the public.”

A railway police added, “We get hoax calls every now and then. It’s been four years since the 7/11 attacks, but we cannot say we are completely safe. Commuters need to be alert at all times and this training will help.”

The Government Railway Police (GRP) is looking at training 20 lakh commuters over a period of 12 months, say officials. Every day 37-lakh commuters use the CR and 34 lakh travel on Western Railway route approximately. “If ten per cent of all the railway passengers take training seriously our initiative will be a hit. This ten per cent can then act as watchdogs on trains and they can also train their fellow commuters,” said Khilnani.

The training

According to railway officials, commuters will be trained in basic fire fighting, how to handle abandoned luggage and to keep cool in case of a terror threat. They will also be imparted training with the help of multimedia presentations where the common man has braved terror in the past.

Passengers will be trained by senior GRP officials at railway stations, which are convenient to them. However, which stations will double as training grounds will be decided depending on the commuters’ response to this initiative.

Break from work

But when will the busy Mumbaikar make time get terror trained? Officials from the railway police will make a request to the employers of interested commuters to give them time off from work.

“We will ask employers to grant his employee a three-hours break on any working day where we can train commuters. This training will not only help Mumbai, but the nation as a whole,” said Khilnani.

Once the training is complete, the passengers will also be given a certificate from the GRP. “We will also ask commuters to take an oath that they will try to stop crime and terrorism in the city. However, this doesn’t mean that we will be relieved of our duty. This training will be provide an added advantage to the railway police where commuters can help out in times of emergency,” said Khilnani.