The increasing cases of robberies in the stretch between Bandra and Mahim railway stations on harbour line have forced the railway police to start burning the bushes along the tracks. Police say the robbers, who are drug addicts, hide in the almost 10-feet tall bushes and attack passengers travelling on footboards to rob their cell phones and bags.
GRP officials say when they patrol below the Bandra bridge at night, robbers throw stones on them; in places where there is fencing on the Bandra-Mahim stretch, the robbers have dug holes below to escape
Now police say they have begun attacking them while they patrol the area. This year the Bandra Government Railway Police (GRP) has recorded more than 70 cases of attacks on passengers. On Thursday evening, a student, Abdullah Saad Gajdar, (21) resident of Nagpada, was attacked by a robber. He fell off the train and fractured his leg.
The GRP has put sleepers on the escape route
The stretch is termed by officials as Bandra khaadi point. Police say the robbers hide in the bushes or climb up poles, and as soon as a train arrives, hit passengers with sticks or hard objects so they drop their cell phones or handbags. Several passengers have almost lost their lives.
GRP sources said the area is not completely fenced, giving the robbers access to the tracks. The cops have been demanding lights along the stretch for long. An official said, “Most cases occur in the night. We are also helpless. Armed with a single stick and one torch, how you do except us to keep them at bay?”
Another official said, “The robbers are now attacking us in the night. When we pass below the Bandra bridge they throw stones on us. A few days back a constable escaped a big stone that could have fallen on
his head.” The cops are now burning the bushes alongside the railway tracks. “We don’t have any other option.
We have made repeated requests to the railways to completely fence the area and install lights but nothing has been done.” In places where there is fencing, the robbers have dug holes below to escape.
So here the GRP has blocked the escape routes with sleepers. Another officer said, “The robbers usually don’t wear shirts, or wear black clothes so they cannot be seen. There are a number of drug addicts’ gangs there.”
The major problem is that all the robbers are drug addicts. They consume crystal meth, and for it they can go to any extent,” said the police officials. After the increase in patrolling in past three months, the robbers have changed their modus operandi to escape.
Police say they carry small tins, and when caught, they say they stay in nearby huts and have come to relieve themselves. After the police leave, they target passengers. On Thursday, one Ahmed Khan alias Pendharu (20) was arrested by the GRP. He is a drug addict and has committed such crimes in the past.
GRP Commissioner Ravindra Singhal said, “The Bandra khaadi point is an extremely sensitive area. Installing complete fencing and lights for patrolling is a must. Cops are attacked nowadays. However, we will intensify patrolling. I have visited the spot and studied the stretch.”
“We will help the GRP in every possible way. We did not entirely fence the place, as it is not possible due to the swamps there,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, Western Railway.
“The robbers are locals and we will help GRP get rid of them. Placing lights is very costly for us, instead the police should deal with the robbers,” said a senior railway officer.
Number of cases of attacks on passengers registered by the Bandra GRP this year