In a city where women feel more secure than they do in practically any other city of the country, train travel is becoming increasingly unsafe for the fairer sex. But, Government Railway Police (GRP) says it has stepped up measures to ensure that things change for the better, and soon. Cops have been asked to remain more vigilant and make certain that crimes against women on trains or at railway stations are dealt with utmost seriousness. So, anyone indulging in sexual harassment is likely to get at least a one-year jail term, or fine (to be decided by the magistrate), or both. That is not all; if any female commuter feels cops are not registering her complaint though it’s genuine, she can directly call the deputy commissioner of police, GRP.
“We were registering cases earlier too, but now guidelines have been sent for lodging such instances on priority basis. Police stations have been informed and personnel deployed at railway stations have been told to move around instead of perching at one place,” said D S Bhandare, DCP, GRP.
MiD DAY had reported yesterday (Only 129 female cops to guard 20 lakh women on railways) about the various problems being faced by the city’s female train travellers and GRP’s gripe of being shorthanded.
“We have started an intensive drive against miscreants inside trains and on railway platforms. If any passenger finds it difficult to register a complaint, she can call on our helpline number or on my mobile number 9833500567,” said Bhandare. According to railway police, there are hundreds of cases that go unregistered, as the women either wish to avoid the hassle of dealing with the police and their questions, or they choose to handle the situation by themselves.
The complaints are registered under different sections (see box) depending on the nature of the crime. Also, if a female passenger does not come forward to report harassment she has suffered, railway police has the right to register a complaint against the perpetrator under section 110 of Bombay Police Act. The accused has to pay Rs 1,200 on registration of the complaint and is called to the court next day. In case he fails to show up, this money is not refunded.
GRP helpline number for women
Prime numbers Sections under IPC:
>> Section 354: Assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty — imprisonment of two years or fine (decided by the magistrate), or both.
>> Section 509: Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman — imprisonment of one year or fine (decided by the magistrate) or both
>> Section 376: Punishment for rape — lifetime imprisonment or 10 years imprisonment (decided by magistrate)