Why do Vande Bharat trains attract stones, if not sticks?

Today's incident of stone pelting marks the seventh such instance since the first train in this series was inaugurated

Vande Bharat Train (Photo: Ministry of Railways)
Vande Bharat Train (Photo: Ministry of Railways)

NH Digital

Stones were pelted at a Vande Bharat Express on June 18 along the Dehradun–Delhi line. This marks the seventh time that 'India's fastest train' became victim to a stone-pelting incident.

Railway officials have said that stones were pelted at the E1 coach near Muzaffarnagar station. Nobody was injured in the incident.

The Delhi division of the Indian Railways has mobilised the Railway Protection Force to nab the culprits.

This doesn't seem to be an isolated instance. The other six incidents involving this 'Made in India' superfast train happened on other routes along Kasaragod—Thiruvananthapuram, Visakhapatnam—Secunderabad, Howrah—New Jalpaiguri and Bhopal—New Delhi.

This very month, the window panes of a Vande Bharat Express were struck by stones in Malda district, West Bengal.

The latest in the line-up of Vande Bharat trains, the Bengaluru–Dharwad route is supposed to begin its trial run June 19, and the possibility of vandalism seems more than probable, going by the statistics so far.

However, the question remains why these trains, which are fulsomely advertised as the pride of India, keep being attacked this way.

One obvious hypothesis is that the Vande Bharat expresses, especially because of the hype around them, behave as magnifying glasses focused on India’s economic disparity, with a single one-way ticket sometimes going as exorbitantly high as the Rs 6,000-plus bracket.

To put matters into perspective, a Rajdhani Express from Howrah to New Delhi costs around Rs 3,040, while an Indigo flight from New Delhi to Kolkata Airport costs around Rs 5,000.

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