Sometimes, trains run late, public address systems fail to make announcements and information gets garbled. But that in no way entitles commuters to thrash motormen or other railway staff because, most times, they are not responsible for the lapses.
The Central Railway (CR) has launched a multimedia campaign against commuters who vent their ire violently at guards and other on-duty train staff in case of any omission.
Passengers who harass railway employees, including the motormen, guard or any frontline staff of railways, will now be dealt with as per law.
The CR has pasted some 10,000 posters in and around passenger areas of all suburban stations, appealing commuters not to manhandle the frontline staff. Apart from this, the authorities have also planned to film a documentary on the life and experiences of motormen.
A K Jain, senior public relations officer, CR, said, “We have been getting a number of complaints from the staff about mistreatment from commuters for no fault of theirs. We have started a multimedia campaign and we are optimistic of positive feedback from passengers.”
The posters, that have become a talking point among local train passengers, request them not to harass or beat railway personnel as they are public servants, and are not responsible for any technical, legal or natural halts the train makes. Because of the action of a few passengers, lakhs of others get disturbed and the journey gets disrupted, the posters read.
The posters list sections of the IPC and the Railway Act stating that assault or criminal force to deter public servants from discharge of duty is liable to be punished under IPC sections are 149, 353, 324, 332 and sections 145, 146, 147, 153 and 174 under railway act.
“We are planning a 3-minute documentary which will show the actual responsibilities and workings of the railways,” said an official.
Railway unions have long been urging authorities to take action to check such assaults. They say such incidents become rampant during monsoon, since the services take a hit owing to waterlogged tracks and other rain-related malfunctions.
Union members speak
Venu P Nair, divisional secretary, National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU), said, “We have already met the district railway manager and asked the authorities to protect the motormen who are attacked for no fault of theirs. We are happy the administration is doing something about the issue now.”
“We run the locals even after these thrashing incidents so passengers reach their destinations on time,” said a motorman who was mauled by passengers after he halted the train for half an hour because he didn’t get the green signal.
Another motorman said, “We are not responsible for the train delays and cancellations. We run the locals on cues from signals. In case of an emergency, if we stop the train it gets delayed and passengers come in hordes and without a thought beat us up. They should understand that we can’t keep going if we don’t get signals.”
Number of motormen on Central Railway’s payroll
Number of services they run in a day
Number of passengers they ferry on an average every day