The number of commuters caught by the Government Railway Police (GRP) for various offences committed between January and April in 2012 has shot up by a whopping 66 per cent for the same period in 2013. As per the GRP statistics, while the total number of cases recorded for the Jan-Apr duration in 2012 was 1,402, the number rose to 2,328 for the corresponding months in 2013.
In 2012, for the four months, 449 cases were registered against people for causing obstruction while boarding or alighting from trains, whereas 559 cases - including 189 against hawkers, two against people playing cards and 368 for other acts of obstruction like leaving boxes, bales, packages and so on in the train which needed to be loaded or unloaded - were filed in 2013 for the same months.
While 341 cases of indecent behaviour were registered in 2012 (Jan-Apr), the number stood at 740 in 2013 (Jan-Apr). These include five cases against prostitutes, 293 against eunuchs, 46 of sexual harassment cases, 25 against for dangerous stunts and 371 cases for acts like using crude language and other riotous or disorderly behaviour.
Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, as many as 387 cases were registered in 2012 (Jan-Apr), while 469 were lodged since the start of 2013. For cases related to possession of stolen property, the number has gone up by 29 per cent, with 22 cases registered in 2013 against 17 in 2012.
Cases against people ‘misbehaving with the intent to provoke breach of peace’ have dropped from 172 last year to 148 this year (for the first four months). Similarly, cases registered for committing nuisance and disregarding official notice by smoking or spitting on the premises of a public building also witnessed a miniscule decrease. Surprisingly, no cases were registered against rooftop travellers and those travelling in compartments reserved for the handicapped.
President of Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh Madhu Kotian said, “The problem of hawkers is ever-increasing. Like many other offences, the Railway Police Force (RPF) is unable to curb this menace because of shortage of manpower. Also, those in the force are easily corruptible and do not do their duty.”
Commenting on the fine of Rs 50 levied for the offences, Kotian said, “Increasing the fine amount will not create respect for the laws among people. For instance, the fine for trespassing tracks is Rs 1,000, but it has not deterred people from committing the act, nor do the authorities implement it effectively. So it is essential to create mass awareness about how following rules is necessary for the welfare of the public. That is what passenger associations like ours are doing.”
A senior GRP official said,“Whenever we see people sitting at the doorway, we ensure that they are caught. Also, people who buy from hawkers encourage them to sell. Until people don’t stop this, it will be difficult for us to curb the menace.”