The accused tried to force her out of the train during the incident, which took place between Mahalaxmi and Lower Parel station. The police constable who was assigned for the duty inside the ladies compartment was apparently sleeping at Churchgate railway station and forgot to take the train. Meanwhile the victim told SUNDAY MiD DAY she is shaken and plans to quit her job. She said her job will always entail travel at odd hours and she can never feel safe in Mumbai’s trains again.
The 23-year-old had recently finished her BSC in nursing and landed the job. She joined work on July 15. According to GRP officials, the woman took the 5.41 am Borivli slow from Mahalaxmi station. As the train started, Kanaka, a native of Andhra Pradesh, boarded the train and seeing the victim alone in the ladies compartment, immediately launched a volley of abuses before pulling her towards him and accosting her. As the victim tried to stave off her attacker, Kanaka allegedly bit her and tried to push her out of the train.
Luckily, the train pulled into the Lower Parel station at this moment and, alerted by her cries, some men from the next compartment jumped on to the tracks to catch Kanaka as he tried to flee. He was handed over to the police while the victim called her parents, and her brother rushed to the station. Speaking to SMD, cops said Kanaka is a history sheeter. He has two chain snatching cases registered against him. He stayed alone at Bail Baazar, Kurla. Senior police inspector Rajendra Trivedi said, “The accused has been charged under section 354 (molestation), 323 (assault) and 307 (attempt to murder). He was produced at the Bandra holiday court in the afternoon and remanded to police custody till July 31.”
Sleeping on the job
Meanwhile it has transpired that Constable Devendra Eknath Shinde, attached with Borivli GRP was sleeping on the job. He took the last local from Borivli station and reached Churchgate station early on Saturday. He was to board the ladies compartment of the 5.41 local but fell asleep at the Churchgate station. A department inquiry has been initiated and he has been suspended.
‘Will never travel in local train again’
Speaking to the correspondent, the victim at her residence said, “I was very happy with the new job which I joined on July 15. It was my first job but now due to this nightmare, I will quit. I am afraid of taking the train. At the police station I was asked if I wanted to hit the accused. I hit him hard and cried.” Speaking about the incident she said, “As my reporting time at the hospital was 6.30 am, I left at 5.30 in the morning. It was like any other day. I was alone in the train. As the train started, this man jumped in. He sat in front of me and made lewd gestures.
I tried to avoid him. But then he asked me to sit next to him. I told him to stay away or I will call the police. That is when he attacked me and I fell down near the door. I tried to move but he bit me and tried to tear my clothes off. I started bleeding badly. He tried to push me off the train. It was a nightmare. Luckily, a few men from the next compartment jumped off the train at the next station and nabbed him. I was exhausted and a few people came and gave me water. I called my mother and my brother reached there. Such an incident can happen to any woman in the city. Who will take the responsibility for this? Who will protect us from such devils? Women are not at all safe in local trains. I pray that no woman in the city has to face something like this.”
“My job requires me to travel in Western, Central, Harbour as well as long distance trains. I have fought off robbers in a local train for which I was even honoured by the police and NGOs. Hawkers and young boys frequently enter compartments. I fear being robbed or molested in the train or on the platform.”
-- Shaila Pathak, Advocate, Goregaon
“I travel from Thane to Vile Parle everyday. I have never seen any GRP, RPF or Home Guard (policemen) in my compartment. I’m always under the fear of being robbed or molested in the train.”
-- Laxmi Singh, Thane
“I travel from Borivli to Andheri everyday. I often find that there are no policemen in the train. I have been a victim of people who have tried to snatch my mobile phone and purse.”
-- Ashita Doshi, Borivali
“I commute from Borivli to Lower Parel on a daily basis. Often, I have seen policemen in the train but when I travel late at night, I prefer taking the Virar fast as there are more people in it. Empty trains are really scary.”
-- Neha Jangam, Borivali
“I am a teacher. I have been travelling from Vashi to Byculla for several years. Because I fear for my life, I have stopped taking the train and prefer travelling by road instead.”
-- Manju Ramesh, Teacher, Vashi