Misra Commission Report
DELHI CHAPTER – 2
(D) ROLE PLAYED BY THE RAILWAY ADMINISTRATION
At the instance of the victims, the Northern Railway was called upon to produce certain documents and answer certain interrogatories. Prof. Madhu Dandvate, who was and also is now a Member of Parliament, was travelling by the Rajdhani Express from Bombay to Delhi on November 1, 1984. He filed an affidavti (no. 2641) and was also cross examiend. He has, in his affidavit, stated :
When the train reached Mathura Station on the morning of 2nd November, 1984, I found large number of armed police as well as commandos guarding the station. At this station, some outsiders entered the train.
When the train reached Tughlakabad station on 2nd November morning a large number of persons carrying iron rods, axes, crow-bars etc. entered our train. They were searching for Sikh passengers in the train. They declared that no Sikh will be allowed to leave the train alive. At that time, I found that some Sikhs in the adjoining compartments were pulled down by these outsiders carrying weapons. I found two Sikhs killed and thrown on the platform and then their dead bodies were set on fire on the platform. The police standing on the platform made no efforts to prevent either the killing or burning of the Sikhs.
After some time I found a railway employee in blue uniform and who was a Sikh came out from the Station Master’s Office. He was immediately surrounded by a crowd of outsiders assembled on the platform and the Sikh employee was killed on the spot.
The train halted at the Tughlakabad station for more than 4 hours. The outsiders who had stormed the train had spread the rumour that area of Ashram Marg on way to New Delhi was surrounded by Sikhs and if the train moved towards New Delhi Station every Hindu in the train was likely to be attacked by the Sikhs. Frightened by these rumours, many persons in the train and particularly women, asked the train authorities not to move the train further.
I then contacted the Station Master and asked him to find out from the New Delhi Station whether there was any disturbance on the route from Tughlakabad to New Delhi. When found that the route was safe and that there was no disturbance at all, I came back to the train and addressed passengers in a number of compartments assuring them that there was no disturbance on the route and if they keep the doors of the train closed so that no outsiders enter the train , the Rajdhani Express could reach the New Delhi Station safely . On the demand of the passengers I requested the police authorities to post an armed policeman in every alternate compartment. On doing this the passengers allowed the train to move forward and ultimately the train reached safely at New Delhi Station.
He further stated in the affidavit that he discovered at least 3 more dead bodies of Sikhs lying in various compartments. He was of the view that the murders of the Sikhs and burning of their dead bodies at the Tughlakabad Station could have been definitely prevented if police at the station were not to remain passive spectators of the gruesome acts of the hooligans who had come from outside the station. His affidavit and his statemement in cross examination make it clear that at Mathura which is in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the Commandos and the police parties were ready for action when the train came on the platform. He himself stated that the situation at Tughlakabad was very different. In his reply to a question by the Commission he stated :
The police party which was standing at the foot of the over-bridge was a group of tacit spectators. No attempt was made to extinguish the fire with which two bodies were being burnt.
The evidence given by Prof. Dandvate makes several aspects clear. At Mathura advance care had been taken before the train came on to the platform to ensure that nothing went wrong while at Tughlakabad which is within the Union Territory of Delhi no such arrangement was made and the police became silent spectators when the murders took place. Nothing has been brought out in the cross examination of Prof. Dandvate to discard his affdavit. The Commission take note of the fact that Prof. Dandvate is a Member of Parliament and was once upon a time Minister for Railways and there is absolutely no justification to disbelieve his evidence.
Seven First Information Reports available on record have been taken note of in the written arguments of DSGMC. Many of these are by Railway employees.
FIR 355/84 is dated November 1, 1984 and appears to have been lodged at 12.30 p.m. The informant is one Rameshwar Dayal, Booking Clerk at Tughlakabad Railway Station. The exact narration is thus :
At about 12.30 p.m. Bombay Janta train stationed at Railway Station Tughlakabad from Mathura. In the meanwhile a mob of about 300-350 nearby villagers holding batons, lathis, iron rods in their hands came to the Railway Station and after cornering the stationed train from all sides started dragging out the travelling Sikh passengers and started beating them with batons, lathis and iron rods and raised the slogans as ‘Jan se mar do, katal kar do’. Some of these village youths were holding kerosene oil in their hands and started setting fire to the injured Sikh passengers. Because these passengers were already injured a lot that is why they could not run here and there. Like this the gang of village youths set fire to about 25/26 Sikh passengers by spraying kerosene oil on them. These passengers expired due to manhandling and the spraying of kerosene oil on them, whose half burnt dead bodies are lying here and there on the Railway Station, Tughlakabad and on the railway track.
FIR No. 357 on 2-11-84 lodged at 10 a.m. was by the Guard of 25 Dn. Bombay-Amritsar Deluxe. This train for want of signal clearance was forced to stop at Tughlakabad Railway Station. It was alleged that 2000 men surrounded the train, removed its hosepipes and made it immobile. The men armed with lathis, sticks and iron rods pulled out the Sikh passengers, thrashed them mercilessly and set them on fire. When the police came the mob ran away. The train left Tughlakabad around 1.27 p.m. and reached Delhi at 2.05 p.m. 8 dead bodies were recovered at that place from the compartments.
FIR No. 356 lodged at the New Delhi Railway Station at 7 a.m. on 2-11-84 on the basis of a memo sent by the Asstt. Station Master, Delhi Kishanganj with reference to the incident at Nangloi Railway Station, reads thus :
Please arrange to remove 12 dead bodies lying on platform at Nangloi to avoid panic. Also arrange armed force to protect staff and station. Heavy mob collected in and around Railway Station. Staff not in a position to perform duties.
It is clear from these as also the other FIRs where similar allegations have been made that no arrangements were made for protecting the passengers either in running trains or when trains stopped at Railway Stations – being authorised or unauthorised stoppages. If proper care had been taken and the police had remained active and played even the normal role of policemen, as Prof. Dandvate has told the Commission, nothing untoward was likely to have happened. The Commission takes note of the difference in the arrangements at Mathura Junction in UP and different stations within the Union Territory of Delhi. Whether it be RPF, Govt. Railway Police or Delhi Police, all appear to have become indifferent within the Union Territory.
From the answer to the interrogatories given by the Railway Administration it is clear that 46 trains were forced to make unauthorised halts either at Railway Stations where such trains had no stoppage or outside station areas. Some of these trains were long distance ones while others were local trains.It appears that armed men came by these trains and moved into Delhi. At convenient places they got down within the Union Territory to carry on riotous activities by stopping those trains. Obviously, when information spread that riots were taking place in Delhi, disturbed conditions prevailed, lot of looted property was available; gangsters from outside got attracted, found the situation inviting and moved into the city. The Railway Administration has also given information that hundreds of Delhi bound trains were cancelled/terminated at different places – station or otherwise- during the riots. From the dates given in regard to the unauthorised stoppage of trains and the termination of trains it is clear that unauthorised stoppages took place on 1-11-84 and a small part of the 2nd. Cancellation/termination of train services in regard to several trains was done from 2nd afternoon. What was done on 2nd afternoon should possibly have been done from 1st afternoon because by then on account of the proximity of the Headquarters, the Railway authorities should have come to know as to exactly what was happening. The claim of the Railway authorities that the RPF handled the situation properly and rose to the occasion does not appear to be a fact. If the RPF alongwith local police had worked properly these events would not have happened. The protection provided with the intervention of Prof. Dandvate should have been provided in the trains operating from 31st afternoon without being asked for. In that event also these casualties would not have happened. This appears to be a case of negligence and want of assessment of the situation on the part of the Railway Administration.