Action against harassers must be a deterrent

Updated: Mar 15, 2019, 05:38 IST | mid-day correspondent

The intention to take action following the spike in complaints is good, let the execution be consistent and as near flawless as possible

Action against harassers must be a deterrent

After the Railways' helpline and Twitter handle were flooded with sexual harassment complaints from women and handicapped commuters, RPF, Home Guard and NCC cadets will now man compartments during peak hours, a report in this paper said.

The action will be taken as the Railways is alarmed by the spike in sexual harassment cases, particularly on 87 local trains from the Central and Harbour lines, The modus operandi of perverts is to lie in wait outside the ladies' and disabled compartments. Then, they take advantage of the peak hour crowd to harass women. The women who are struggling to get on the train, and hemmed in by the crowd on all sides often have no way of fighting back.

It is disappointing that after so much awareness and so many drives, there has actually been a spike in reports about sexual harassment in the public space. This is also a very shameful commentary on the situation and is a pointer to the fact that, we still need many more awareness programmers, and strict, absolutely non-negotiable action when it comes to sexual crimes.

The guards to be deployed must be well-trained, and camera surveillance of the sharpest quality to be able to make this effective. Women must have an avenue to follow up on their complaint. All this has to be clearly spelt out for women commuters. While police are supposed to be deployed in the women's compartments at night, they are often missing because of a shortage of manpower.

Recruit more personnel train them well, use signage warning people of strict punishment in case of harassment and let the planning of this project be absolutely perfect. The intention to take action following the spike in complaints is good, let the execution be consistent and as near flawless as possible.

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