AS MANY AS 119 cases of molestation have been registered at the Railway Protection Force (RPF) offices of Central Railway and Western Railway since 2016, official records received from the railway office indicate. While 81 cases were detected by the police, 88 arrests have been made so far. On the Western Railway, 46 such cases have been reported on the railway premises, including stations or running trains. Officials said more female RPF officials were being deployed during peak hours to redress the issue.
On Tuesday, a pantry car staffer was arrested by the government railway police staff of Surat after a woman accused him of rape on board the Aravali Express on June 9. The woman along with a co-passenger had boarded the train from Andheri. Immediately after the incident came to light, the Ministry of Railways, through its Twitter handle, announced termination of the catering firm’s contract. “Notice for termination of contract for 19707/8 has been issued to Brindavan Food Products, three days notice has been given,” it tweeted.
“Through CCTV cameras, a continuous check on the wrongdoing at railway stations is being monitored. To keep a specific check on crime against women, we have also planned to deploy more female RPF officials to keep a check on unauthorised entry of male passengers in ladies’ coaches,” a senior RPF official said. “Female passengers complain of feeling unsafe mostly during mid-afternoon and late nights in trains when the trains are least crowded. We try to deploy more female forces in these hours,” an RPF official said. “Through our campaigns, we try to urge more girls and women to report these incidences. In most of the cases, we have been able to nab the accused through the testimonies given by ladies describing the appearance of the accused,” said Gayatri, Patel, head of Mahila Vahini branch of female RPF official team.
Officials from the Western Railway said while precaution is taken to verify criminal records of the staff and coach attendants, the process will be made stricter.