Nine minor boys were arrested for assaulting passengers and stealing possessions in the Panvel-bound early morning local train on Tuesday, raising concerns about the level of security in the lifeline of Mumbai.
On Monday, a gang of 15 boys boarded the CST-bound train from Mankhurd to go to the Siddhivinayak Temple. A day later, they boarded a Panvel-bound train from Kurla at 5.30 am. Initially, they got into the ladies compartment but were asked to leave by the Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel. The group got down at Tilaknagar and entered the adjoining luggage compartment. Five boys got off at Chembur. However, the rest were supposed to alight at Mankhurd but didn’t do so.
“When the local began its 8-minute journey till Vashi, the 10 boys began assaulting four other passengers in the luggage compartment and took their mobile phones and cash collectively amounting to Rs 15,070,” said a GRP official from Vashi.
The assaulted passengers - Lalchand Kevat, Ramshakal Kevat, Khatau Nishad and D Chandra Mishra - were on their way to the APMC market. “When the train halted at a signal between the two stations, these boys tried to jump and run with the booty,” said the GRP staff. However, one of the boys, Akshay Shirke (16) was the first to jump off and was run over by a train coming from the opposite direction. Meanwhile, Sajid Abdul Bari (14) was caught by the passengers, but the others ran away.
Yesterday, based on information given by Bari, GRP arrested Akshay Prakash (15), Suraj Porus Barucha (15), Tushar Susshir Pote (17), Salman Shaikh (17), Dyandeep Nathu Page (17), Salman Khan (17), Jayesh More Shorpole (17) and Sumeet Sampat (17). They have been brought to Juvenile court, Bhiwandi. P M Karyakarte, senior inspector, Vashi GRP, said, “This is a very serious issue. We have arrested all the offenders and booked them under Section 395 (dacoity) of the IPC.”
“There is too much poverty in our country and in many cases, family members of these minor criminals are aware about their involvement in such crimes,” said a senior GRP official. He also added that personnel and officials keep patrolling in the local trains and around the station premises in uniform and plain clothes but still some incidents take place. “We are short of staff and are unable to provide fool-proof security to passengers. The government should give us more staff. Only 3,500 GRP staff cater to 70 lakh passengers,” he said.
The number of crimes involving minors, including chain-snatching and pick-pocketing, that were reported this year
criminal cases were registered against minors in 2012 - 88 cases in Central Railway and 135 cases in Western Railway
(Inputs by Richa Pinto)