New Delhi: The anti-north Indian tirade in Maharashtra has claimed another victim. Twenty-five-year-old labourer, Dharamdev Rai - hailing from Faizabad in UP – died after being allegedly beaten up on board a train just outside Mumbai on Tuesday.
Police have detained 10 MNS activists in connection with the incident. However, ADGP Railways, Maharashtra, KP Raghuvanshi, says the incident wasn’t a hate crime.
CNN-IBN: Does your preliminary investigations indicate the lynching of this man was a hate crime?
Raghuvanshi: One thing I can definitely say is that it was not a hate crime. When these fellows were sitting in the train, other fellows came, they wanted seats to be vacated for them and that is how it started. But when they asked, ‘where are you from, are you from UP are you a bhaiyya’, that is how it started. But you cannot call it a hate crime.
CNN-IBN: But 10 MNS workers have been detained and there has been an anti-north Indian campaign being carried out by Raj Thackeray’s men?
Raghuvanshi: Let me clarify that we have definitely questioned 10-12 fellows but we have not arrested anybody. The idea was that this incident has happened and in the given situation unless we were sure we couldn’t say we have arrested somebody. We have not arrested anybody till now but, definitely, I can say we have spread it out to our team and will very soon arrest the right people.
CNN-IBN: The man who was lynched believed to have been screaming for help for some time. Why was there no help at hand from the railway protection force or the GRP?
Raghuvanshi: No it happened in moving train. They have very clearly stated that this incident happened when the train had already moved one kilometer. These fellows who got assaulted - someone advised them there was a helpline number of the Railway Police Force. They contacted the helpline and the head constable.
CNN-IBN: Are you denying that there was any delay in reaching help?
Raghuvanshi: No, they boarded the moving train, when they got off at Belapur, our ASI was available. When they said that somebody is conscious, he (the boy who was assaulted) was taken to the hospital in Belapur itself.
CNN-IBN: Are you stepping up security? There is a sense that north Indians could be fearful of taking the trains in the city. Can you hold out an assurance?
Raghuvanshi: Definitely we have, more than 2,500 RPF fellows are already on the job. All long-distance trains going towards north are fully covered and similarly the platforms as well. we have stepped up our security already in plain clothes as well as uniform from all the trains going towards north.