August 14, 2015 2:44:11 am
A 29-year-old home guard, who is one among the many marshalls posted on buses to ensure women’s safety, was manhandled and injured by an unidentified commuter in a DTC bus on Wednesday night in Malviya Nagar. Police have not been able to track the commuter yet.
According to police, Rajbir boarded the bus in Anand Vihar at 9 pm. Two young men also got into the bus and sat in the seats reserved for women.
“As the bus was relatively empty and there were no women standing, I let them sit there. However, a few stops later, a group of five women boarded the bus. So I asked the two men to give up the seats for them. However, they refused. I once again asked them to get up, after which they reluctantly agreed,” Rajbir said”
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“After this, one of the two men kept glaring at me constantly. I reprimanded him for doing so,” said the home guard.
Police said Rajbir had sat down in the seat behind the driver and was resting his hand on the window sill.
Near Malviya Nagar metro station, the man who had glared at him got off. Rajbir said he suddenly felt a sharp stab of pain in his right hand. When he looked out of the window, he saw the youth skulking away after attacking him.
Rajbir asked the bus to pull over at the Malviya Nagar depot, where he informed the DTC duty officer about the incident. But he refused to take responsibility for the incident, Rajbir alleged.
Rajbir then made a PCR call and filed a case at Saket police station. Police asked him to come to the station to give a description of the youth.
“While police were helpful, they did not register a case under the charge of attempt to murder as I had requested. The youth had aimed to slash my chest but he injured my hand instead. It left a deep gash and required over nine stitches. Moreover, the Delhi government — which employs us — should deploy at least two home guards on each bus to ensure backup in case one of us is attacked,” said Rajbir.
“We have been tasked with ensuring passenger safety but we are not even allowed to carry a lathi. How can we keep ourselves safe, leave alone others,” he said.
A senior Delhi government official said that although the attack on the marshal is unfortunate, it is a law and order problem, which can be addressed by police. He said it is not possible to give arms to marshals, but the government may consider equipping them with stunners or batons for self-defence.
“Like beat constables, there can be only one marshal on a bus. We cannot deploy them in groups. They are volunteers and they get paid for it. There are 1,300 marshals on 1,300 DTC buses and one incident should not be seen as a threat to all of them. These things are a part and parcel of field-work. We cannot do the policing part but we will examine what needs to be done so that such incidents do not occur in the future,” said the senior official.
He said the government will also check if it is the bus route that is problematic and seek more police deployment on the route, if necessary.
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