NIA files charge sheet in Kerala train arson Case: Sole accused planned act of terror

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has submitted a charge sheet against the sole accused in the tragic Kerala train arson incident, which resulted in the deaths of three passengers, including a child, and left nine others injured in April. Shahrukh, also known as Shahrukh Saifi, aged 27, stands accused of committing this act of terror by setting the D1 Coach of the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express ablaze on April 2, 2023.

According to the NIA charge sheet filed on Friday, Saifi is alleged to have thrown and sprinkled petrol on passengers and ignited the coach with a lighter, intending to cause harm. Hailing from Shaheenbagh in New Delhi, Saifi boarded the moving Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express, carried out the act, and continued traveling in the same train until Kannur. He then fled to Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, where he was eventually apprehended. The accused had purchased petrol from a station in Shoranur and a lighter from a nearby store at Shoranur railway station.

NIA investigations revealed Saifi’s choice of Kerala for this heinous act was strategic; he aimed to commit a jihadi act in a location where he wouldn’t be recognized. His intention was to resume normal life after spreading terror. The NIA stated that Saifi had self-radicalized through online propaganda, following radical Islamic preachers, including those based in Pakistan, on social media platforms. The arson, committed as a jihadi terror act, was a result of his online radicalization, the agency concluded.