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UAPA invoked against suspects in Kerala railway fire

Under Section 16 of the UAPA, acts of terror that result in death are punishable by death or life in prison. (File Photo)

The Kerala police have invoked the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against the suspects in the recent train fire in the Kozhikode district, resulting in three deaths and eight injuries. This allows the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to oversee the investigation.

Section 16 of UAPA has been invoked against Shahrukh Saifi, 27, a native of Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, who was apprehended by the Maharashtra ATS from Ratnagiri on April 5 and brought to Kerala, according to Kozhikode city police commissioner Rajpal Meena.

Under Section 16 of the UAPA, acts of terror that result in death are punishable by death or life in prison.

On Sunday, the Special Investigation Team of the Kerala Police investigating the arson case submitted a report to the Additional Sessions court regarding the terror aspect.

The police had previously filed a murder charge against Saifi, in addition to invoking Sections 326A (causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc.), 436 (mischief by fire and explosive substances), and 438 (attempt to commit mischief by fire or explosives) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as Section 151 (damaging railway property) of the Indian Railways Act.

On April 2, passengers of the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express were sprayed with an ignitable substance, subsequently identified as petrol, and set ablaze in the Kozhikode town of Elathur. Three individuals perished after leaping from the train.

While investigators have yet to determine the incident’s motivation, they have discovered that Saifi, a carpenter by trade, arrived in Shornur, Kerala, from Delhi on April 2 and spent the entire day at the railway station before aboard the train. According to investigators, he allegedly filled several empty bottles with petroleum at a Shornur station in the interim.

While police believe Saifi received logistical assistance in Kerala in order to carry out the assault, they have yet to identify a second accomplice.

Last week, the police transported Saifi to Kannur, where the two train carriages were being held for evidence collection. The police are also anticipated to return Saifi to Elathur, where the incident occurred, on April 18.

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