Railways to combat rising crimes against women

Security plan rolled out to curb sexual assaults on trains, station premises.

Rattled by a surge in incidents of crimes against women passengers, the Indian Railways have rolled out an elaborate security plan to ensure safety of women on their premises.

Of the 23 million passengers who travel in trains across the railway network everyday, about 4.6 million are women passengers. A majority of complaints from women related to molestation, eve teasing, harassment, and unauthorised entry of male passengers in coaches reserved for women, among others.

“In suburban railway networks such as Mumbai, women passengers are victims of shoving, objectionable touching, groping, bullying etc. In addition, women passengers become victims of chain/mobile snatching, handbag lifting and other instances of thefts of luggage. In the recent past, a surge in incidents of crime against women (including rape) in trains and railway premises has been a major area of concern,” Arun Kumar, Director-General, Railway Protection Force (RPF), said in a note sent to all Principal Chief Security Commissioners of Zonal Railways early this month.

As part of a focused effort to strive for safety of women passengers and mitigate atrocities against them across the Indian Railways, Mr. Kumar directed security officials to analyse incidents of crimes, particularly rape, reported in the last five years to assess the modus operandi of criminals, security lapses, vulnerable section of women, location of the offence, status of investigation etc.

Criminal database

Asking RPF personnel to coordinate with the State Railway Police and create a database of criminals involved in crimes against women, the official called for a short and long term security strategy to ensure safety of women passengers on railway premises. Adequate number of surveillance cameras and Light Masts covering vulnerable locations identified in railway stations, yards, parking areas, ends of platforms, etc., would deter criminals, he noted.

Mr. Kumar said empty trains should be locked before being moved to yards for washing. While apprehending unauthorised persons or those found to be under the influence of alcohol on railway premises, he said exemplary action should be taken against railway staff involved in such offences. The cases of crimes against women should be followed up till their logical conclusion, he said.

Curb porn

The Director-General of RPF said the Railways was providing free Internet to passengers and steps should be taken in coordination with service providers to ensure denial of access to porn sites. Railway security personnel could use the National Database on Sexual Offenders for stepping up vigil of criminals in their respective areas. “The position of women’s coaches should be fixed at the platform and CCTV camera to be installed at that point so as to provide adequate coverage of the coaches,” he said.

Passengers in distress can contact 182, which is a helpline operational round-the-clock across Indian Railways for security related assistance.

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