Monday, 7 April 2014

Special teams tracking identities of 800 train victims

52-year-old Devi of Salem was one of the 2,305 bodies recovered from the railway tracks in the State last year causing a concern over mindless crossing of railway tracks. Until two weeks ago, she remained one among the 800 unidentified bodies reported in 2013.

Following a missing complaint filed in 2010 in her native Salem, a special team matched Devi’s picture with that of her body recovered in Nagercoil and identified her. She was in fact one of the 19 bodies that were identified by a special team formed exclusively for the purpose.

According to the Government Railway Police (GRP), of the 2,305 dead, in 2013, 1,822 were run over while crossing railway tracks while the rest were suicides. “In the four-km stretch from Mambalam railway station to Guindy about 75 died last year,” a police official said.

The number of accidental deaths and suicides on railway tracks have remained over 2,300 in the past three years. The number of unidentified bodies too have been almost the same.

In February, the railway police formed four special teams in Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchy, led by a sub-inspector to trace the identity of bodies. After a week’s training at the State Crime Records Bureau, the team officials began manually matching photos of unidentified bodies with those of missing persons.

The efforts have begun to reap benefits with the police identifying 19 of them including Devi. “We use the database that are loaded in the Tamil Nadu police website. We begin by matching the date of missing, age and dress. With 19 bodies identified, we have closed 36 FIRs,” said a sub-inspector from the Chennai team. The Chennai team alone has identified 11 bodies.

The GRP have placed anti-accident beat personnel in 50 locations in the State. These personnel are deployed close to the tracks to stop people from crossing.

“Suicides cannot be prevented but accidents can be. That is why we have taken this initiative. We have identified 50 locations where many people cross the tracks regularly. At least people will listen when a policeman stops them from crossing,” said Seema Agrawal, Inspector General of Police, GRP, Tamil Nadu.

Monday 07 April 2014


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