After Pimpri stationmaster R P Gupta was thrashed by three people in his office, which is adjacent to the Government Railway Police (GRP) chowky, railway operations were stopped for almost 40 minutes by all stationmasters of Pune division to protest against the incident.
The GRP succeeded in arresting three accused last morning.
“At 4 am I was on duty and sitting inside my cabin. Three men entered the room and started abusing me. I told them to go out and not to argue. They went outside, but later came back and started beating me,” Gupta said. “I immediately shouted for help and asked my assistant to call the police, but before the police could reach the spot all the assailants had fled the premises.”
Gupta, who sustained minor injuries, was rushed to the Railway Hospital by his staff.
“I think the attack was properly planned. Of the three, I have recognised two men. They are from the slum area near the station and a few days back I found that they were creating trouble on the premises. I had warned them I would lodge a complaint at the police station. The attack was intentional and was meant to threaten me,” he said.
After the incident, the All India Station Master Association lodged an FIR. The association demanded stern legal action against the culprits and stationmasters stopped trains for 40 minutes after 10 am.
The association alleged that the GRP was turning a blind eye to the security arrangements at railway stations.
“Stationmasters have the huge responsibility of signalling. One small mistake can lead to a big tragedy. As we are working for the people, proper security should be provided by GRP,” Dhananjay Chandratri, zonal secretary, said.
Railway PRO Y K Singh said only two local trains were affected by the protest.
“Except two locals, no other trains were affected because of stationmasters stopping work. The protest was in the morning time. Hence, the passengers of long-route trains have not suffered,” Singh said.
The suspects were identified as Aakash Gaikwad, Ajay Singh and Nikhil Sarode (all 19), who are residents of Pimpri and work as watchman.
Railway Police Inspector Mahendra Rokade said they wasted no time in looking for the suspects.
“After the complaint, we immediately started our search and caught the suspects before 10 am. We arrested the suspects within six hours. They have been charged under Sections 353, 324 and 334. In spite of this, stationmasters have created unnecessary drama and stopped the trains for 40 minutes, which ultimately affected the passengers. We have limited manpower for small stations. There are only two policemen for Pimpri police station,” Rokade said.