Few train commuters would have never come across groups of eunuchs that demand, rather than beg for, alms. On Tuesday Panchanand Behera, who was travelling from Bhubaneshwar to Mumbai on Konark Express, earned the wrath of one such clique and ended up in hospital after being stabbed. A co-passenger who came to his rescue also suffered injuries.
The three offenders were arrested by Kalyan Government Railway Police (GRP). It’s notable that though eunuchs regularly create nuisance on trains, Railway Protection Force (RPF) and GRP rarely act against them.
Last month two such miscreants were arrested by Kurla GRP for allegedly fracturing the hand of a passenger after he refused to pay them.
“Behera refused to pay the eunuchs the Rs 20 they had demanded, and gave Rs 10 instead,” said Somnath Tambe, senior inspector of Kalyan GRP, adding, “The trio had an argument with Behera and allegedly stabbed him with a knife. The victim suffered injuries to his chest. When another commuter, Abhimanyu Das, tried to intervene, he too received stab injuries to his hands.”
When the train reached Dadar, both passengers complained to the local police who rushed a bleeding Behera to Sion hospital, registered an offence, and transferred the matter to Kalyan GRP, as the crime had taken place in their jurisdiction.
“With the help of CCTV footage, we arrested the three eunuchs -- Shreya Shaikh, Jeniffer Shaikh and Simran Shaikh -- all residents of Kalyan,” said Tambe.
Emboldened by inaction
Commuters say earlier RPF and GRP would round up eunuchs occasionally, but now they have completely stopped the practice. As a result, extortion by eunuchs has become a regular affair on long-distance trains like Howrah Mail. “They demand a minimum Rs 10 from a passenger and get aggressive if they are snubbed,” said a police officer from GRP.