Crime against women passengers is increasing everywhere including public transport. A recent Indian Railway data reveals that the number of rape cases has increased from 7 in 2016, to 10 in 2017 and 15 in 2018 while molestation and assault cases decreased from 2016 to 2017 before increasing again in 2018.
The highest number of molestation cases were registered in Southern Railway (71) followed by Central Railway (62).
A railway official said, “We have taken various measures to check crime on trains. Surveillance is kept through CCTV cameras at a various railway stations to ensure safety and security of passengers and security helpline numbers are also provided. In many long route trains, there are also captains who are assigned for safety and security reasons.
“The captains’ phone numbers are announced before the journey. Passengers can contact him anytime for assistance. Moreover, I also urge woman travellers to complain to the nearest railway police station if they face any sort of molestation, or theft,” he added.
Trains are very unsafe for women, especially long route trains where women’s compartments are few or even non-existent, says Neha Sansare, a Marketing Executive.
“In express trains, we’re only dependent on pulling chains or calling helpline numbers which are unreliable. The Indian Railways should take steps on a priority basis to ensure women feel secure while travelling. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had said earlier that 2018 will be completely dedicated for women’s safety while in reality there is no work done to secure woman on trains.”
Women police personnel should be on trains 24×7 and panic buttons or alarms should be installed for securing our journey, Neha added.
The crime rate is increasing because not even primary measures are taken to ensure the safety of women, says Swapnali Maske, a Banker and frequent traveller.
“I travel daily in local trains and since we have less frequency of trains, sometimes in hurry I board the male compartment and I don’t remember even one instance where i was made feel secure.”
Swapnali further says, “Men in the compartment will keep starring at you till the time you get down, they’ll push you unnecessarily and if the train is crowded they will put their whole body against you and so on. There is a desperate need to increase the security for women in trains especially. There is no helpline number assigned especially for woman security by the railways. It is not possible to keep complaining every time about the culprits and if you do there are many hassles to face with police.
“There should be at least one security personnel deployed in trains. It may not help much either but something is always better than nothing at all,” she added.
Niraj Mistry, Student, says, “Safety of women anywhere has always been a matter of huge concern. And sadly not many steps are being taken about it. Railways are completelyunafe for single women to travel in.
Recalling an incident, he says, “I was travellng from Pune to Delhi and there was a woman who was surrounded by men on the adjoining seats. They kept on passing lewd comments and making her feel uncomfortable. When she asked the ticket checker to change her seat, he declined and told her to fend for herself. Before the incident, she had asked many other passengers to swap seats but they refused.
“By raising awareness, more women speak out molestation experiences these days. However, we as citizens should also ensure the safety of women,” Niraj added.
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