In an incident with a possible terrorism angle, three persons, including a child, were killed when an attacker indiscriminately threw petrol on train passengers and set them on fire in a running train near Kozhikode on Sunday night. The deaths occurred when the victims tried to jump out of the train to escape the fire. Nine others are in hospital with burn injuries. The condition of one of them is stated to be serious.
The incident occurred in the D-2 compartment of Alappuzha-Kannur executive express after it passed the Kozhikode station.
Attacker fled away after committing the crime
The attacker committed his crime when the train was on a bridge probably to ensure maximum impact. He slipped away under the cover of darkness when the passengers pulled the chain and stopped the train.
The bodies lying on the track were discovered by the driver of a train that came after the one involved in the incident.
A special investigation team has been formed to investigate the matter. The team has managed to identify the attacker on the basis of the contents of a bag left behind. A phone in the bag, though without a working SIM, gave the police valuable clues.
Attacker identified by the police
The attacker has since been identified as Sharookh Faise from Noida, Uttar Pradesh, who has been engaged in construction work and staying in Kozhikode. But there has been no breakthrough so far in determining his whereabouts.
The motive behind the attack is not known, but handwritten notes recovered from his bag had reference to his daily routine, including namaz and yoga. There were also references to a number of places in Thiruvananthapuram as well as Kanyakumari.
Police shared a CCTV footage, but it turned out to be a student, not the attacker
Earlier in the day, the police had released a video from a nearby CCTV, showing someone getting away on a bike. But it turned out to be that of a local student, who was being dropped at the railway station by his friend to take a train to Mangalore, where he was studying in a school.
The investigators have not ruled out the terror angle, but the NIA has so far not taken up the case. The Union Home Ministry has sought detailed reports about the incident.
The attacker’s antecedents and social media activities are being watched to determine if there was any terrorist angle to the crime.
Chief Minister Pinarai Vijayan condemned the attack and directed the police to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the incident and bring out all details.
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