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Immolation or accident aboard Cheran Express?

S. Vydhianathan

Police clueless to victim's identity

CHENNAI: Railway Police are clueless on the identity of the person who was killed in a fire accident in the Coimbatore-bound Cheran Express on Tuesday.

"Until the victim is identified and his antecedents are known it will be difficult to make any breakthrough," said a senior official of the railway police here. As the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is holding an inquiry into the incident, Southern Railway is not conducting any probe.

Sources in Southern Railway said from the preliminary report it was a clear case of suicide and the victim might have boarded the train at Tirupur. If it was an accident, the victim would have made frantic attempts to save his life by trying to open the door, which was bolted from inside. Moreover, the power supply equipment in the coach was intact, ruling out the possibility of any electrical short-circuit. There was not much damage to the compartment, as it was a new coach, containing fire-resistant material. The sources said though passengers were being frisked at all major stations before boarding trains, it was not done seriously in wayside stations such as Tirupur. The victim, the sources said, might have carried kerosene in a small container, which could have escaped the attention of security personnel even if any checking was made at Tirupur. Only co-passengers could give vital information about the identity of the victim in the CRS inquiry to be held on Thursday and Friday.

But they ruled out the possibility of a terrorist act. If he was a terrorist, they said, he would have caused casualties to passengers and would not have indulged in the act within the closed toilet.

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