Launch campaign to tackle sexual harassment on trains and platforms, which includes a survey, signature drive, and a move to shame offenders by posting their photos on Facebook.
Four professionals – two men and two women – have begun a survey to find out the extent to which female commuters are sexually harassed on local trains and platforms.
The group, comprising Dipesh Tank (29), Paresh Tank (26), Meera Damji (33) and Shweta Tiwari (27), calls itself War Against Railway Rowdies (WARR). The four were at Malad railway station on Monday morning, where they surveyed around 100 female commuters.
Questions included whether they had personally experienced harassment or witnessed it, whether they knew of groups that targetted women, and about their general sense of safety on trains and platforms. The group said that 80 per cent of the women they spoke to said they had been sexually harassed on platforms and in trains.
WARR says this is just the first step of their campaign. They will soon submit the survey – along with signatures of the respondents – to the railway police commissioner as well as the chief security commissioner of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and demand strict action against offenders.
Dipesh, an advertising professional and Malad resident who is spearheading the initiative, said that in addition to this, the group will encourage victims of sexual harassment to note down where they were at the time and if possible, photograph their harassers with their camera phones and post the pictures on WARR’s Facebook page.
“We will also send these pictures to the GRP and RPF so that they can trace the culprits. Through the survey, we also will demand that plainclothes cops be posted at various railway to arrest such people or groups who harass female passengers,” said Dipesh.
He said he decided to launch the campaign after seeing groups of commuters standing on the footboard of a moving train molesting women on the platform.
“I saw this for three or four days in a row and could not stand being a mute spectator like thousands of others. A couple of weeks ago I approached railway officials and told them about the problem. They sent a constable along with me to witness it first hand and take action. But as the train was very crowded, he was unable to nab them,” he said.
The railway police also asked him to approach the RPF for help, but Dipesh decided instead to launch a campaign to tackle the problem.
A senior Railway Protection Force (RPF) official said, “We carry regular drives to nab people who harass other commuters. A major problem is that these groups target women when the train is catching speed, but we will find ways to catch them.”
WARR is now looking for more volunteers, especially women. You can get in touch with them at waragainstrailwayrowdies@ gmail.com or by visiting their Facebook page, War Against Railway Rowdies.