Making sure its announcements are not just heard but understood as well, Delhi Police is now asking people in Bhojpuri language to be cautious about drug and robbery gangs at a crowded railway station in the capital.
"Yatrijan se anurodh ba, koi se jaldi dosti na kareen, na kehu ke dehal khaayeen (passengers are requested not to befriend strangers and not accept any food from them) goes the warning in Bhojpuri that began recently at the Anand Vihar railway station in east Delhi.
Anand Vihar is where many trains for Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal originate. The announcement in Bhojpuri is the first time Delhi Police has launched such a targeted service.
Delhi Police is worried at the increasing number of cases of drugging and robbing of passengers by gangs known as "zehar khurani" on trains going towards eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
The modus operandi of the gangs is to befriend waiting passengers at railway stations or in the ticket queue.
The criminals strike up a casual chat with passengers in Hindi or Bhojpuri, or even Bengali. The chatting and laughing soon progresses to an offer of tea and biscuits or a cold drink. The unsuspecting passenger takes a sip or bite of the drug-laced food and is soon unconscious. He or she wakes up to find all belongings gone and the stranger absconding.
"The drugging is a serious problem faced by many passengers. The drug gangs are able to gauge the vulnerable targets," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Railways) Sanjay Bhatia told IANS.
"We launched the service to reach out to maximum passengers. Very soon, the service will be launched in other languages, including Bengali," Bhatia said.
The Bhojpuri announcement is repeated every half an hour at the Anand Vihar station. The station was opened two years ago to decongest the heavy traffic at the New Delhi railway station.
Announcements would be launched in other railway stations in the capital soon, the official said.
According to statistics, police have nabbed 101 criminals over the past five years. Police have also printed a booklet on the modus operandi of such gangs and circulated it among its officials and railway staff.
Describing one such crime, an officer said that around a month ago, an engineer who landed in Delhi from abroad at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and took a taxi to the New Delhi railway station was robbed.
The engineer arrived at the station in the early hours and was waiting at a platform to board a train for Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
A person approached him and initiated a casual chat. After some time, the stranger offered him tea. After sipping the tea, the engineer started feeling groggy and collapsed. When he regained consciousness, he found his bag, cash and electronic equipment gone.