mid-day editorial: Get 'fatka' gangs off tracks and behind bars

Feb 10, 2018, 06:05 IST | mid-day correspondent

On Thursday, a woman fell off a train near Masjid station, after being struck by a 'fatka gang' member

On Thursday, a woman fell off a train near Masjid station, after being struck by a 'fatka gang' member. The final year B.Com student from Kalyan was heading towards CSMT and standing near the exit of the train compartment to get a better signal.

A boy, perched on a pole, hit her forehead with bamboo stick, after which she lost her balance and fell off the train. While the minor managed to escape with her phone, a train coming from the opposite direction ran over her hand, crushing her fingers. She also lost a part of her right foot in the accident.

The police did arrest a member of the gang, a 17-year-old. These gangs operate with a modus operandi that goes like this. They are perched on the side of small hills that run alongside certain train tracks. As the train slows down while coming towards a station, they hit a commuter's hand with a stick. This makes the commuter, possibly talking on the phone, drop the device. The petty thieves escape with the phone, which is now on the tracks.

This was also the modus operandi earlier when a lot of commuters used to carry briefcases while standing near the exit. These gang members would hit the commuters' hands so that the briefcase would fall.

The police should come down very heavily on fatka gangs. One hopes the law takes a very strict look at these gang members, even though they are minors. This is not just about theft. They are lethal, and a hit like this may cause a commuter to fall off the train and lose his or her life.

The railway police along with local cops have to take an absolute non-negotiable, no-mercy approach to these gangs. They are not petty thieves or boys doing this for a lark. These are potential killers and they should be treated as such.

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