Vacations are the days we wait for. The excitement of getting confirm tickets, checking PNR status and the bewilderment on deciding the dresses and accessories to pack are the signs that display your love towards the train journey. Every traveller dreams of a peaceful journey to a vacation for releasing their stress and tensions accumulated throughout the year. There are many journeys via train which are memorable and everlasting. However, there can be circumstances which might turn the happy and cheerful mood of traveling to a severe devastation or damage. It’s the time to be extra vigilant and attentive on the station premises to identify any unattended luggage which can be placed by the miscreants at any corners of the station. They can contain explosives or bomb which can land everybody’s life to trouble. Therefore, the travelers must recognize and know how to respond or to be cautious and where to contact after discovering any unattended items.
The rail commuters are expected to be eagled-eyed or a keen observant towards any unattended or suspicious luggage. So, whenever you spot any suspicious object or observe any mysterious person placing a luggage and leaving it unattended on any platform or train coaches, then it’s the time to contact the designated railway authorities to get the problem resolved. Before we take any step towards the matter, let’s know what an unattended or suspicious luggage is.
Railway station premises are occupied with travelers and their heavy luggage. The commuters generally place their heap of luggage on the ground or on the bench waiting for the arrival of the train. But not every unattended luggage is a “suspicious luggage”. The term unattended luggage means “leaving the bag in a crowded station premises and no one has any immediate control over the bag”. They are also called suspicious luggage as there is no owner to the baggage. RailRestro lists some parameters for the travelers through which they can scan the environment at station premises and differentiate between a normal bag pack and a suspicious or unattended luggage.
- Any suitcase or bag placed at any corner of the station premises or on the bench: If any traveler is vigilant and notices any baggage kept unattended from a longer time at any corners, should be brought to the notice to concerned railway authority.
- Any item located at the entry-exit point of station which is not visible easily: There are certain corners in the entry-exit side of the stations which are generally ignored or not easily visible. There are high chances of placing any item at these corners. Stay alert and be vigilant!
- Any item abandoned by any queer-looking stranger: Though railway platform is a place where every passenger is a stranger to each other, but there are some strange and queer-looking faces which can be easily recognized as something not normal. They have an intention to mix with the crowd leave their luggage. Such species are dangerous. You are advised to report to the concerned authority, as they can be any deceitful criminal recently released from jail or a member to any terrorist group.
- Any items which have batteries wires or clocks: There are huge chances that such items are bombs or any explosive which is life threating. Any bags, timer, or bottles shouldn’t be touched or picked.
- Any Soft toys: Abandoned soft toys can be most dangerous. Do not leave your children unattended as they are most attracted by the soft toys. There are high tendencies that children can touch or lift up the toy. Beware! It can explode.
- Any baggage emitting bad odour, mist or leaking any liquid or powdered substance: Any baggage which emits bad odour, liquid, chemicals or any powder substance. If such baggage is left unattended, it can cause any explosion. Be vigilant and take necessary steps to avoid any accidents or explosion.
- Any items left unattended in conspicuous areas: Any bags left unattended at areas like waiting room, phone booth, vending machine and restrooms are suspicious. Do not touch and report immediately.
Every traveler must know four basic principles after observing any unattended items at the station:
- Procedure to follow upon after observing the unattended items
- Steps to take after the identification of the unattended object
- Procedure to communicate to the correct department after identifying the items
- Use of any emergency exit or path to leave the location immediately till the matter is resolved.
Steps to Initiate after Identifying Unattended Objects at Railway Station
Once you identify any object from the aforementioned list or you perceive any threat at railway stations, you can opt for any of these remedy.
- Give a call at 182: Helpline number 182 is especially launched for railway related security or alerts. Any passenger at the station can contact 182 and address any security related issues to the authorities. The helpline will immediately inform the nearest railway police to take the case with topmost priority.
- Inform the TTE or RPF staff: The TTE’s or the RPF staffs are the immediate helpers. The vigilant passenger can contact the TTE or the RPF staff and address the issue. Be cautious!! Stay alive!!
- Inform the station master: Many small stations don’t have RPF officials available every time. In this case, contact the station master immediately.
- Inform concerned DRM: The incident must be reported to the concerned DRM and station master who will further arrange for the bomb squad team to diffuse the bomb.
NOTE: If the train is moving, contact the TTE or the station master of the next station railway authorities. Tweet your concerns at the same time. Use twitter handle of the railway minister (@PiyushGoyal) and the Indian Railways (@RailMinIndia). You will get immediate reply and help from the Indian Railways.
Travelers at station should consider the following guidelines for recognizing and taking immediate steps when suspicious items are found.
- Ask to the passengers beside and confirm whether the unattended bag actually belongs to them or anyone else nearby. Try to locate the owner of the bag as every luggage is not a suspicious luggage. Jump to any step, only after a perfect confirmation.
- Do not panic! Try to evacuate the place as soon as possible. Do not scream or shout.
- Be calm! Avoid running on the station. It can create heavy stampede leading to bomb explosion.
- Avoid using cell phones from at least 300 feet from the device. The radiations can affect the bomb material inside and cause explosion. Switch off your phones immediately after you get the news.
- Do not try to video record the process. It can be dangerous.
- Avoid entering the sealed area by the officials.
- Leave the area quickly and do not return till the issue is resolved. Do not enter the area once evacuated.
- Wait for the instructions or directions by the concerned railway officials. Enter to the station premises only after their confirmation order.
- If you have detected the bomb, be ready to communicate with the officials inquiring for details.
- Give the officials a clear picture of the suspicious person, a complete description of the odour of the chemical or powder.
- Vehicle details of the suspicious person, if any.
Note: Do not leave your personal luggage unattended for other reasons like using toilet, moving to inquiry counter, or to buy any food items from the vendors at station. If you leave your luggage unattended for a longer time, it can be considered as an unattended luggage by the public which can land you to another serious trouble and a time waste activity for the Indian Railways.
What makes a package suspicious?
The US Department of Home Land security promotes the concept of HOT and encourages the passengers to “say something when they see something”. The three liner HOT is an easy concept to understand. They are:
- The package is Hidden
- The package is Obviously suspicious
- The package is not in a Typical Area
This means any package which is Hidden(H) and seems to be Obviously(O) suspicious and not placed in a common or Typical(T) area are considered to be unattended or suspicious luggage and it is a mandatory duty of the citizens to inform about the unattended package to the concerned authorities.
Let us follow the HOT concept to avoid any blasts or unwanted Railway accidents. RailRestro requests every citizen or travelers to be extra attentive on railway platforms and report anything suspicious they find at stations. Your strict vigilance will save many lives.