Kurla and Mumbai Central stations are suicide hotspots

Of the Western and Central Railways’ 127 stations, these two accounted for nearly half of all suicides in 2013 and more than 75% this year; motormen and officials say they are baffled by the statistics

Mumbai’s suburban railway tracks, which claim the lives of nearly 10 people every day, have also become hotspots for those seeking to end their lives. Since 2013, 79 people have committed suicide by jumping in front of trains and, out of the 127 railway stations on the Central and Western lines, most of them chose Kurla and Mumbai Central to do so.

A motorman said one of the reasons for the suicides could be that the two stations are usually crowded and people might think that their actions would go unnoticed. Pic for representation
A motorman said one of the reasons for the suicides could be that the two stations are usually crowded and people might think that their actions would go unnoticed. Pic for representation

According to railway police statistics, 62 suicides 51 males and 11 females were reported in the year 2013, and one person escaped with injuries while attempting to end his life. Out of these 62 cases, Kurla and Mumbai Central accounted for nearly half, with the former seeing eight cases and the latter, 19.

While the number of suicides has come down drastically this year, with 17 cases being reported till September, Kurla and Mumbai Central at 13 still saw a disproportionate number of them (see box). Out of the 17 people who committed suicide, 14 were male and 3 were female. Another person escaped with injuries while attempting suicide.

When mid-day tried to speak to motormen and other officials about suicidal people’s preference for these two stations, they said they were baffled by it. “It is shocking that people choose Kurla and Mumbai Central stations for ending their lives.

One of the reasons I can think of is that the stations are crowded and people might think their actions would go unnoticed,” said a Central Railway motorman. Another motorman added that these stations have many long-distance trains passing through them and that could also be a reason.

GRP sources told mid-day that the figures do not tell the whole story and the actual number of suicides could be much higher. “The staff assigned to handle such cases sometimes don’t register the actual cause of death. Many suicides taking place on railway tracks are passed off as deaths due to trespassing to avoid lengthy procedures.

Motormen, who are in the best position to distinguish between a suicide and an accident, are grilled so much that they get confused and give the wrong reasons,” said a senior GRP official, adding that staff members have been warned against repeating such acts.

Official speak
Ravinder Kumar Singal, Commissioner of Government Railway Police (GRP), said, “The frequency of trains is higher at these railway stations and this could be one of the reasons. There are also many slums around these stations. We have to analyse the statistics to find out the exact reason.”

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