As thousands of miscreants and protesters created havoc, many commuters feared as they entered CST railway station.
Amidst the pandemonium, the railway police at CST had their hands full trying to prevent the situation from escalating on the railway premises. “We had to ensure that the ladies and other commuters were safe,” said a senior RPF officer.
As the crowd went on a rampage, burning vehicles and damaging buses and other property, people going towards CST station ran helter-skelter. RPF officials claimed that the main problem was distinguishing the rioters from the general public.
Another RPF official said that their men with guns were posted away from the entrance so that the common public wouldn’t be afraid to enter the station premises. “The force was sent to the entrance and on the tracks so that the rioters wouldn’t enter and create trouble on the rail system,” said another RPF officer.
Meanwhile, the RPF and GRP also called up a few Maulanas (religious preachers) at CST station and asked them to make announcements that things were under control. “We had to ensure that people weren’t scared, so the Maulanas were made to announce that the rioters wouldn’t enter the station premises and it was safe,” added the RPF officer.
The ladies’ compartments, where women were seen screaming in fear were also ensured by police staff that they wouldn’t be harmed. During this time, the Central Railway cancelled services arriving and departing from CST station until the situation had stabilised.
A CR spokesperson said that due to the incident at Azad Maidan, nearly 100 services were cancelled. Even the motormen were given protection up to Dadar and Wadala for a few services after the incident.