It was their accent that landed six men from Kerala in the soup yesterday as some passengers in a CST-bound local train mistook their pronunciation of "Bombay" as "bombs" and approached the RPF, a senior officer said here today.
They were allowed to go only after the RPF and the ATS quizzed them thoroughly.
"These men were travelling in a Panvel-CST local train. Some co-passengers heard them talking in a suspicious manner. One of the co-passengers got down at Kurla station and approached the RPF," said Sachin Bhalode, senior divisional security commissioner, Central Railway.
He said the train had left Kurla station by the time the police reached there.
"The message was given to the RPF, CST. The men were detained after they alighted at CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus)," Bhalode said.
They were subsequently handed over to the RPF, Vashi, as Panvel comes under Vashi division. Explaining the incident, an RPF official said since the men didn't know Hindi or English, they were conversing in their local language.
"They were typing words like 'bomb' in their WhatsApp messages, which aroused suspicion of their co-passengers in the train," he said.
The men, whose names were not disclosed by the authorities, arrived in Mumbai through a train from Kerala yesterday. According to the official, they were supposed to go to Ratnagiri to attend a function at a madarsa (seminary) there.
"However, before heading to Ratnagiri, the men decided to go for sight seeing in Mumbai with their relatives. Hence they boarded the local train from Panvel," he explained.
The official said that besides RPF, the ATS also questioned the men, but nothing suspicious was found.
"They were allowed to go today and no case has been registered against them," he added.