Incidents of train robbery across the country are escalating at an alarming rate causing widespread panic among passengers and travellers.
Often criminals are so desperate that they throw their victims off running trains.
According to the Government Railway Police (GRP), around 986 bodies were found by railway lines last year.
Of them 875 were males and 111 females. About 600 bodies were recovered in 2011 and 580 in 2010.
A number of the victims are believed to have been killed by muggers. Of the cases, 982 were recorded as "unnatural death" and eight are being treated as murder.
A total of 31 such killings were committed near railway zones last year, according to the related statistics.
In most cases passengers do not inform police of the incident as police are reluctant to register cases.
People travelling by train are at the risk as organised gangs of muggers frequently attack passengers and snatch their money and belongings before pushing them off running trains, which in most cases cause death.
No effective measures have so far been taken to check these crimes.
Sources claimed incidents of robbery on trains have increased mainly due to lack of adequate security.
Although the GRP and railway department identified 62 points on 16 railway routes as crime-infested zones, they had not taken any initiatives to stop the crime, they added.
The director of Bangladesh Railway (Transport), Sayed Jahurul Islam, said Railway Nirapatta Bahini mainly work for the security of railway property while the GRP look after peoples’ property.
He said the railway authorities are trying their best to ensure people’s safety in those crime-infested zones.
On January 31 this year, robbers, after looting money and valuables, threw five passengers off the commuter train Titash that runs between Akhaura and Dhaka.
Of the five victims, four died immediately and the other in hospital. The government railway police (GRP) of Akhaura detained seven suspects.
On the night of February 17 this year, a gang of robbers brandishing machetes and knives pounced on passengers of the Jamuna Express at Gafargaon Railway Station in Mymensingh and looted gold ornaments, money and valuables from them.
On October 17, 2012, one passenger died and three others sustained grievous injuries after robbers pushed six passengers off the Jamuna Express in Sharishabari upazila of Jamalpur district.
On November 19, 2012, Azizur Rahman, a former deputy director of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, died after being taken to hospital.
He was found in a critical condition by the railway line near Agricultural Research Institute of Gazipur. He was travelling from Joydebpur to Dhaka by inter-city train Turag.
On November 30, 2012, robbers looted valuables and threw two passengers off three carriages of a train when it was approaching the Bangabandhu Bridge at Sarishabari in Jamalpur.
On December 23, 2012, robbers injured two textiles engineers and left them at Tejgaon Railway Station in the early morning while they were travelling to Joydevpur by Turag Express from Kamalapur Railway Station.
The victims told reporters that a gang of muggers had struck them with machetes, snatched their mobiles and Tk4,000 before pushing them off the running train.
On December 17, 2012, muggers looted gold ornaments, valuables and mobile sets from Sharmin Sultana on the Padma Express after the train left Cantonment Railway Station at Uttara for Dhaka at about 10pm.
Passengers complained that although the government had increased train fares in October last year in the name of improving services, no steps had been taken to ensure security of passengers.
While contracted, Mohammad Sohrab Hossain, deputy inspector general of the railway police, told the Dhaka Tribune they did not have enough manpower to deploy them to each compartment of a train.
“Only five to seven GRP men are deployed in a train having nine to 12 carriages,” he said adding that they had taken steps to improve security in trains and at railway stations.
Armed police battalion and Railway Nirapatta Bahini are assisting the GRP in ensuring security of the passengers.
They have displayed posters on train compartments with advices to the passengers and phone numbers of the police officers concerned to contact them in case of emergency, he said.
The current manpower of the railway police stands at 1,514, according to the website of Bangladesh Police HQ.