A number of armed men robbed several people across three trains that were waiting at the signal to enter Kanpur station in the early hours of Wednesday. Many of the passengers were reportedly sleeping when the incident took place.
The robbers, who were armed with knives, reportedly took away not only the passengers mobiles and wallets but other also other valuables the travellers had on them. The police have not been able to identify the robbers, who fled the scene in the darkness.
The trains that were robbed included the Vaishali Express and the Lokmanya Tilak Express, both of which are superfast trains. How the armed robbers managed to enter the trains at night — when compartments usually have more security personnel as well as tighter security measures to counter exactly this kind of an incident, is yet to be determined.
The armed robbers, in the process of looting the passengers, reportedly injured some of them. They were administered first aid by the Railway personnel and local authorities. None of their injuries is said to be grievous. However, some were knifed. "Our trains were at Kanpur outer near a bridge. I saw a passenger stabbed in his thigh," Railway policeman Shyamvrat Singh Yadav was quoted by NDTV as saying.
Uttar Pradesh is going to elections early next year, and such crimes in the state could be a huge setback for the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), which is already seeing infighting in its upper echelons, where Shivpal Yadav — brother of party founder and chief Maulayam Singh Yadav — is squaring off with his nephew, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Opposition parties like the Mayawati-led BSP, the BJP and the Congress will look to leverage these crimes to wean away the SP's voters in a state that is politically important because it has sent the most number of prime ministers to office, including current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was elected to Parliament from Varanasi.