RPF takes novel approach to curb stunts on trains by welcoming offenders with garlands and words of counsel
If you think the youngster in this photograph is being felicitated for bravery, you couldn’t be further from the truth. He was, in fact, caught performing dangerous stunts on a running train.
Watch Videos: Shocking stunts on Mumbai locals
Gandhigiri approach: Cops catch hold of a youngster and garland him after he is caught attempting stunts on a train.
When stern warnings and threats of criminal action didn’t work, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) decided to use a different approach to curb such stunts, which remain a persistent menace. It is particularly rampant at Mankhurd, Govandi and Chembur stations because of fewer commuters and guards being present there.
CCTV grabs show some popular stunts attempted by commuters, including hanging outside the coach, and running with a moving train.
But yesterday, several young daredevils were shocked to see as many as 16 police officials waiting for them — but instead of lathis, they held garlands in their hands.
The youngsters were in for even more confusion as they were made to dismount from the train, only to be garlanded by the cops, who also counselled them against attempting such stunts, and then finally let them go.
Read Story: Despite danger, stunts on Mumbai locals continue
In a matter of three hours, cops caught over two dozen culprits – most were minors between 14 to 17 years of age. Many were first-time offenders.
Good cop, bad cop
After welcoming the teenagers with garlands, the cops also informed them that if they are spotted trying dangerous stunts again, they will face legal action. Some of them were also warned that their parents would be informed about their behaviour.
Number of people booked for stunts in 6 months
Number of people caught yesterday
“Those caught are generally booked under Section 156 of the railway act and are produced in railway court, where they are levied a mere R400 fine and are released. We have been noting down the details of repeated offenders and keep their records along with CCTV grabs and share this information with other RPF divisions.” He added that the ‘garland drive’ was conducted between 3 pm and 6 pm by four senior officers and 12 RPF staffers.
— Ranjit Singh, Senior Police Inspector, RPF (Mankhurd Division)
We have a group of five friends, we bet on who can do stunts better. We mostly do stunts like ‘monkey running’ (running parallel to a moving train, with one leg on train footboard and the other on the platform). Another stunt is ‘leaf pick’ (plucking leaves from running train). Whoever runs longer or collects more leaves, wins the bets. — Youth 1
I travelled on the rooftop just to experience it, as I had seen many people doing it earlier. — Youth 2
I was scared when I saw people doing it, but a few months ago, I tried it and had fun. I have tried ‘pole hitting’ (leaning out of a train in full speed and touching the electric poles along the track). — Youth 3