Three passengers were killed and nine others, including three women, sustained severe burns and are undergoing treatment after a miscreant poured flammable liquid on the passengers in coach D1 of the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express. The incident occurred around 9:45 PM on Sunday, April 2, 2023. The accused has been identified as Shahrukh Saifi, reportedly a Noida, Uttar Pradesh resident who was working as a carpenter in Bulandshahr.
According to the police officials, the incident occurred when the express train reached the Korapuzha railway bridge. Initially, it was believed that the suspect had an altercation with the other passengers, which might have escalated and led to the attack, but passengers in the compartment confirmed that there was no such altercation between any passenger and the accused. The accused poured the inflammable substance on a passenger, set him ablaze, and escaped after other passengers pulled down the emergency chain and the train slowed down. Passengers immediately alerted the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and helped put out the fire. The Kerala Police also came across three bodies lying on the railway track near the spot where the incident happened. It’s speculated that they attempted to get off the train upon seeing the fire. All three casualties, including a woman, a child and a middle-aged man, had no burn injuries.
The accused was detained after police retrieved his mobile phone from a bag recovered at the crime scene. Following this, the Kerala Police contacted the Uttar Pradesh Police to try to apprehend Shahrukh Saifi. The Inspector General of the Railway Protection Force, Easwara Rao, was seen inspecting the train. He said to the media, “This is an unfortunate incident. We are reviewing the security gaps. We need to install CCTVs in railway coaches and smaller railway stations.”
The investigating team collected the details of the SIM card which is suspected to be used by Saifi. Investigations based on Shahrukh’s phone revealed that the SIM card was registered in the name of Shahrukh Muhammad Fakhruddin of Jamia Nagar, South Delhi, and was switched off on March 31. The Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Kerala police has started collecting evidence after receiving a tip-off about the suspect’s presence in Irumpanam in Tripunithura a couple of weeks ago. This new development has paved the way for further investigations into the Brahmapuram fire that broke out on March 2, 2023. The suspect’s presence at the spot has come under scanner amid the allegations claiming that some miscreant intentionally set the fire on the Brahmapaur garbage pile that could have jeopardized the locals.
Investigations are underway. The motive behind the arson is as yet unclear; some suspect a terror link in this case, though no concrete evidence supporting such speculations has come forward.
Regardless of the motive, it’s beyond argument that an act as gruesome as this could have put hundreds of lives in danger. While Muslims and their apologists often paint India as a country in which Muslims are endangered and cite the infamous 2002 Gujarat riots to drive their point home, they adroitly conceal that the absolute mayhem was triggered by hundreds of Muslims who surrounded the Sabarmati Express train and set it ablaze, killing 59 Hindu devotees who were returning after completing their religious activities in Ayodhya. Had prompt actions not been taken, the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express fire could have caused more significant damage to life and property, much like the Sabarmati Express incident, which is popularly referred to as the Godhra Kand.
The case is also strongly reminiscent of the recent Holi attack by a Muslim man on his Hindu friend. On March 7, a Hindu man tried to include his Muslim friend Mohammad Shabbir in Holi festivities. But irked by the splash of colors, Shabbir poured petrol on Anjaiah and set him on fire.