The authorities have resumed passing the buck on providing security to female commuters after the Saturday morning attack on a young nurse on a local.
The Government Railway Police (GRP), which has a strength of about 3,500 men, provides 388 constables for night escort on trains. But this is a severely low figure compared to the number of rakes on Western and Central railways.
The GRP complains the railways does not take enough interest in women’s security. GRP commissioner Prabhat Kumar said that given the dearth of manpower in his force, hiring guards from private security agencies should be an option.
“We have written numerous letters to the railways, with detailed computation of our requirement of 1,840 additional policemen for women’s security. If that comes through, we can secure women’s compartments day and night,” maintained Kumar. “We want the railways to take active interest in securing women commuters.”
“The Railway Protection Force, which currently escorts outstation trains, can work alongside our men to escort locals too,” said another senior GRP officer.
The dire lack of coordination between the railways and the GRP is evidenced by the fact that the latter’s personnel below the rank of senior inspector do not even possess duty-pass for operating on railway premises. “This means that by chasing a criminal across railway lines our constables are committing an illegal activity,” pointed out another officer.
Till May this year, there were 18 instances of molestation on the city railway network and two cases of rape. Apart from them, there was the horrific acid attack on Delhi resident Preeti Rathi at Bandra Terminus. Activist Sameer Zaveri said the GRP does need more manpower to curb crime and “there is no reason why the state government should not provide it with enough men”.