Mumbai: 87 Central Railway, Harbour line locals are fertile ground for molesters, reveals survey
After railways helpline and Twitter handle are flooded with sexual harassment complaints from women and handicapped commuters, RPF, Home Guard and NCC cadets to man compartments during peak hours
There's finally some good news for women commuters across the city who are tired of perverts pawing at them every time they try to get into a crowded train during peak hours.
Alarmed by the increasing reports of sexual harassment, particularly on 87 local trains from the Central and Harbour lines, the railway authorities will now deploy personnel from the Railway Protection Force, Home Guard, and NCC cadets to keep an eye out for the crooks.
Women are often harassed while trying to board trains, but are unable to fight back because of the crowd
The railway helpline and Twitter handle have been flooded with hundreds of complaints from women who have been molested by creeps. These perverts lie in wait outside the ladies' and disabled compartment, and take advantage of the peak hour crowd to harass women. Struggling to get on the train, and hemmed in by the crowd on all sides, women often have no way to fight back.
A survey by the railway authorities revealed that this was a regular problem on 87 local trains from the Central and Harbour lines during peak hours. The survey also recommended special protection and surveillance to curb further incidents. Following this report, the authorities are mulling on deploying officers from the Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials on each train. In the near future, the Home Guard and students from the National Service Scheme (NSS) students and National Cadets Corps (NCC) will join forces with the RPF to protect commuters.
Shahdub Shaikh was arrested for putting his hand inside a woman's pants while she was trying to board a train at Kurla station
Since the ladies' compartment barely has enough space for commuters in the peak hours, the security personnel will stand guard in the disabled compartment adjoining the women's compartment, to keep an eye on any potential perverts hanging around to molest women boarding the train. One RPF officer will be posted in each disabled compartment.
In a pilot project, railway officials have selected 20 trains, of which 10 are downward-bound (towards Karjat-Kasara) and 10 will go up (towards CSMT). Half of these will be in the morning, and the other half in the evening.
Sources from RPF also revealed that they will be getting over 200 Home Guards in the near future to control crowds at major railway stations and keep an eye on perverts as well. An RPF officer said, "We need the additional man power, however their recruitment process is presently in process."
The Railways are also planning to rope in students from the NSS who will be trained and deployed across all major railway stations. This will happen once their examinations come to an end.
Since police presence helps to reduce such offences, the authorities are also planning to deploy commandos at major stations like Kurla, Dombivli, Kalyan, Thane, Dadar, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, which will send a tough message to not just creeps but also thieves and other criminals.
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