February 24th, 2017
“Yesterday (19/02/2017) I was travelling from Lucknow to Roorkee in sleeper class of LKO-CDG Express, 12231. And during the journey, I witnessed a very unfortunate incident. It was as follows.
Yesterday there was an assembly election in Lucknow-Kanpur region. The train was originating from Lucknow, so it was already on the platform when I reached. I boarded in my coach (S2) and approached to my seat. The coach was already crowded, and most of the people were police personnel, who usually don’t have any reserved seats. I got to my seat (upper berth) and saw two bags and two rifles on it. I asked the policeman sitting on the lower berth, whether the items belong to him and he said they did and removed them from my berth (Though I didn’t expect that to be that easy, because of my experience from a previous journey). I got up to my berth to lie down.
After 10 min, I heard a discussion between a man who has a reservation on the upper side berth and two police personnel who were using his seat. The man was asking for his seat while showing his confirmed reservation ticket. But, the policemen did not get up. They said that they had a three-day long election duty and needed some rest. While I could understand their problem, it was not right since the other person had a reservation. They offered him money to give up the seat, but we all know that money is not the matter in Northern Railways where we are lucky if we find a place to sit.
They asked him to find some other place to sit. All of us in the coach were listening but didn’t have the courage to oppose them, also because we too were in the same boat. Even this man’s wife and father asked him to let it go because they didn’t want the situation to get worse. His father was already sharing the middle berth with a policeman and his rifle.
When the Ticket inspector came to check the tickets, the man requested him for his seat. The ticket inspector told him to wait in spite of asking the police to vacate. I thought about tweeting this to Mr Suresh Prabhu (Railway Minister), but I was scared to get involved in a troublesome process as I had a long journey ahead of me. It was only after 3 hours (which is a long time to travel without a seat) the man finally got his seat.
My previous experience was on 18 February 2017. I was travelling from Roorkee to Lucknow by the same train and faced the same situation. I saw two big bags and rifles on my berth. I requested the personnel to remove them, but they removed only one bag. So I slept with a bag and two rifles next to me.
I don’t know what I should have done at the time. Why are the police personnel travelling in a reserved coach without reservations? Why does the election commission or the Indian Railways not have proper provision for movement of personnel on election duty? I can understand it is difficult to book seats on short notice, but I know they get a good travel allowance from the government and they can book tatkal tickets.
Keeping in mind their duties, this kind of behaviour makes people scared of the police, and no one wants to approach them.”
Submitted By – Kranti Kumar Maurya
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