The government is moving towards empowering the Railway Protection Force (RPF) towards registering cases, and to investigate theft of passenger belongings and crime against women and children on trains.
The national transporter has worked out two new clauses to be added to the Railway Act, 1989, to empower the RPF with the same. The proposal will be sent to the Cabinet for approval.
Currently, these cases are dealt with by the Government Railway Police in respective states as law and order is a state subject.
“With the changes, the force will be able to act on these crimes much faster than the existing procedure. This will also be a big deterrent to these crimes in Railways,” Arun Kumar, Director General of the RPF, told The Indian Express.
Currently, registering cases is a complicated process. There is often confusion on the jurisdiction of the crime on a moving train. The latest move is an attempt to fix that. The Railway Act currently empowers the RPF to act against those obstructing the movement of trains through agitation and otherwise, touting of tickets, unauthorised travel, etc.
In 2017, there were over 18,000 cases of theft on trains. While some zones showed marginal decrease in the numbers compared to the previous year, other zones showed a sharp rise, like in Mumbai-based Western Railway and Central Railway, Bilaspur-based South East Central Railway, and Prayagraj-based North Central Railway.
Similarly, there were 432 cases of harassment of women passengers in 2017, up from 293 in 2016. In 2018 till October, there were 411 such cases on trains.
The RPF is also developing a mobile app for its use that reports crimes on the spot.