mid-day editorial: Punishment should fit the crime

Apr 06, 2018, 06:05 IST | mid-day correspondent

This paper ran two Railway-related reports contrasting in nature and intent, showing that for every dark deed, there is a ray of sunshine

This paper ran two Railway-related reports contrasting in nature and intent, showing that for every dark deed, there is a ray of sunshine. One report cited how stone throwing at railway commuters continues to rear its ugly head.

Recently, two commuters were injured in separate cases of stone throwing. The Government Railway Police registered FIRs and started investigation. In both cases, two women were targeted. One stone hit a woman's nose and in the other incident, a stone hit the woman's ear.

In the sunshine account, a ragpicker in Thane found a purse on the tracks while he was looking for trash. The purse had debit and credit cards and R33,000 in cash, which is a considerable, tempting sum for a ragpicker. This man though, did not make off with the booty. He handed it over to the station master, who returned it to the rightful owner. The ragpicker got a small reward in gratitude.

The FIR against the stone throwers shows that there is now a sense of gravitas in catching them. This despicable act has moved fortunately from being treated flippantly to that of a serious crime. We hope these criminals are caught and sentences are severe enough to serve as both deterrent and punitive action.

We also wish the Railways starts an aggressive awareness campaign with announcements in trains and notices within and on platforms of the seriousness of this offence. The mindset needs to change, and awareness plus constant reinforcement of this message might make a significant difference in reducing this crime.

Meanwhile, the rag picker showed that this city has a heart of gold. Let it shine through in different ways whether it is in responses to accidents, respecting rules when using civic infrastructure or taking the onus for cleanliness of our surroundings.

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