The Telegraph
Saturday , January 5 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Safety alarm on Rajdhani

Patna, Jan. 4: Women are becoming exceedingly vulnerable on wheels. Even Rajdhanis — the flagship express trains of the railways — are not completely safe.

The Government Railway Police (GRP), Patna, last year registered four cases of eve-teasing on Rajdhani Express trains. Three victims were harassed on 122423 Guwahati-New Delhi Rajdhani Express on different dates. One incident was reported from 12306 Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express.

A vigilance official of Indian Railways was charged with attempt to molest after he tried to outrage the modesty of a woman passenger while travelling by Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express on October 8, 2012. The officer, A.N. Singh, had to surrender before the railway court.

Last year, the first molestation attempt on Guwahati-New Delhi Rajdhani Express was reported on May 16. Two incidents of eve-teasing were reported by the passengers of the same train on June 13 and June 21 last year. Though the incidents occurred on running trains, the complaints were lodged at Patna Junction GRP.

Station house officer of Patna GRP Ram Pukar Singh said the accused involved in the three eve-teasing cases on Guwahati Rajdhani Express had been chargesheeted and the trial had started in the railway court. Only in the case of the railway vigilance official, the chargesheet was pending, he added.

Recently, a girl student of Gaya escaped a molestation bid while travelling by Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express. The accused, identified as Mohammed Sheikh, was arrested at Mughalsarai station after she lodged a complaint with the GRP.

Sources said molestation on trains was common but the cases on Rajdhanis get highlighted because of their passengers’ socio-economic status. “The Rajdhani passengers are more educated and economically well off. So, they lodge complaints. Such incidents are common on other trains but go unreported for a variety of reasons,” said a senior railway official.

Sources said at least 20 cases of eve-teasing were reported from the areas falling under the Patna rail district in the past one year.

Inspector general (rail) Binay Kumar said: “We are alert and trying our best to ensure passengers’ safety. But sometimes indecent behaviour of some passengers spoil the journey of others (read women passengers).”

He said there was no provision of providing escort on trains during daytime. “In the night, GRP personnel escort long-distance trains,” he added.