47 cases have been registered till the end of October this year, six more than the number registered in all of 2013, raising questions about the railways’ claims of taking all possible steps to ensure women’s safety
While the railways claim that they are doing everything on their part to reduce crime against women travelling in local trains, the numbers tell another story.
The number of cases of molestation in local trains and stations registered till October this year has already crossed the figure for all of 2013. There were 41 molestation cases registered in 2013, and this year the figure stood at 47 till October 31, with Kalyan, Kurla and Dadar topping the list.
On the other hand, the number of rape cases registered this year stands at two, as against the six registered in 2013. Commuters and passenger associations, however, claim that most rape and molestation cases still go unreported, mostly because of police apathy and the humiliation that survivors often have to face.
“Even if we approach a police station to register a complaint, they treat us like we have committed a crime by reporting the incident and asking them to take down our complaint,” says Sonali Date, a commuter who travels between Nallasopara and Marine Lines.
Subhash Gupta, president of Rail Yatri Sangh, said, “Less than 10 per cent of cases actually get registered.” He claimed that the lack of security personnel during elections was also a reason for the rise in molestation cases.
“Most cops were sent for poll duty and there were hardly any security personnel available to ensure the safety of 75 lakh passengers travelling on the Central and Western Railway networks,” Gupta added.
Rajiv Singhal, a member of Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC), Western Railway, said stern measures should be taken. “Railway authorities should take serious note of the issue.
They should install CCTV cameras and take strict action against offenders. The police should also make women feel safe when they approach them to register a complaint,” said Singhal.
Dr Ravinder Kumar Singal, Commissioner of Police (GRP), however, said that reason behind the rise in the number of reported cases is the awareness campaign sensitising people about crime against women and urging them to report it.
“Passengers are now more aware and alert about registering such offences. We are also taking steps to make sure that crime against women is curbed,” Singal said, adding that they have deployed special squads to increase passenger safety in local trains.