On local trains, it’s graffiti grief for women

A woman journalist was in for a shock recently when she started receiving lewd calls from strangers. On enquiring, she found that someone had scribbled her phone number along with an obscene message in a local train compartment. She then lodged a police complaint.
While her complaint is pending with the cyber crime cell, the menace has been giving other women commuters a tough time. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has registered several cases of damaging or defacing railway property, of which five per cent are cases of obscene graffiti against women, officials say.

Such graffiti is usually seen in luggage compartments and second class ladies’ compartments that become general compartments after 11 pm.

Over the past five years, the RPF registered 766 offences on the Western Railway (WR) and 15,311 on Central Railway (CR). These include defacing trains, damaging banners or altering letters or figures in trains or on railway premises. However, the railway administration has failed to take serious action as it “does not have separate data on cases of obscene graffiti in local trains”.

Women commuters prefer not to approach police. WR commuter Neha Dutt said, “It would be better if the railway authorities frequently cleaned the train coaches and removed the obscene posters and graffiti.”

Before 2004, such cases were handled by Government Railway Police (GRP). Later, the RPF was empowered to deal with such cases under Indian Railways Act, 1989.

In April 2002, the then railway police commissioner Rakesh Maria formed three squads comprising 10 police personnel. Police had then nabbed two culprits red-handed.

On April 18, 2002, a 23-year-old final year engineering student and on April 25, 2002, another 20-year-old college student were caught while scribbling vulgar graffiti on the wall of second class ladies’ compartment. RPF authorities, however, said it was difficult to catch the offenders red-handed.

WR registers cases of defacing trains under section 166 A and 166 B of Indian Railways Act, regarding damage to railway property. The CR’s RPF, however, registers these cases as creating nuisance under sections 145 A, 145 B and 145 C of the Act. The minor penalty entails imprisonment for a month or a fine Rs 500 to Rs 1,000.

Alok Bohra, senior divisional security commissioner, CR said, “This is the work of perverted minds. Though the law takes care of such offenders, the permanent solution is that every member of the society must respect women.”


Spl cyber crime wing for rly cops

The Government Railway Police (GRP) of the state force has got a cyber crime wing. The new group will help GRP, which is now dependent on the cyber unit of the city and state police.

“The unit will come in handy to crack crimes reported in our jurisdiction. Earlier, to solve even minor cases we had to depend on cyber crime officers of the state and city police who had access to a sophisticated laboratory,” said additional directorgeneral of police (railways) R Sekar who was behind setting up the unit.

The special cell would reduce the dependence on the state and city police, particularly for small cases, he added. The new unit recently busted a gang involved in a series of burglaries on trains with the arrest of nine people from Haryana. “If needed we will seek the upgradation of the state cyber crime laboratory in Chennai to widen our scope,” he added.

Sekar said they planned to rope in more police personnel, of ranks ranging from constable to inspector and having expertise of cyber crime investigation, to work in the special unit. “Many policemen and women have completed specialized courses related to cyber crime investigations.”


Rail cops get help on deadly tracks

Railway tracks have become death traps and a rise in fatalities has alarmed the railway police.

With an average of three people being hit by trains in Chennai every day, and being too short-staffed to man all the lines in the city, the government railway police (GRP) have roped in volunteers from NGOs in an attempt to curb fatal track accidents.

More than 100 volunteers including a radio jockey, a law student, doctors and businessmen will visit neighbourhoods and slums along railway lines to ask residents not to cross railway lines or, if they have no choice, inform them about the precautions they need to take while doing so.

“We have roped in volunteers from NGOs because they can reach out to people and educate them about the risks,” said GRP inspector-general R Arumugam. “Our men have carried out campaigns in the past but people are more receptive to representatives of social service organisations.”

The volunteers have signed up with the railway police under Madras Station Vigilance Committee, a programme to spread awareness on train accidents and crime. Such groups are being set up at major stations across the state.

In around 70% of fatal train accidents, the victims were using the tracks as toilets. Close to 25% were speaking on their cellphones and did not notice the train approach, Arumugam said. Suicides accounted for a relatively smaller number of deaths.

While a majority of the victims were hit by long distance trains, more than 120 people died on the tracks on the suburban routes of Central-Beach-Tiruvallur and the Central-Beach-Gummidipoondi line last year. Sixteen people have died on suburban lines so far this year.

The GRP also want the volunteers to monitor miscreants who loiter around railway tracks and report any suspicious activity. Madras Station Vigilance Committee secretary V Arumugam said the volunteers will also help out with crowd control at stations, prevent people from crossing the tracks or causing damage to the passengers or tracks.

“The volunteers will work alongside GRP men,” he said. The committee members will distribute pamphlets to passengers about crime on trains like chain-snatching and help regulate traffic outside railway stations.


Portal to track those missing on tracks

Launched two months ago by the Mumbai Government Railway Police (GRP), the website (shodh.gov.in) has already benefited 343 families trace their kin who died or were injured in train accidents. The police say the portal’s special features, including photographs of victims, have made the search more effective.

Over 3,800 persons were injured and 3,450 died in railway mishaps on the suburban section of central and Western Railway last year (see box).

The website, which has been functional since July, is in the last leg of completion, and will be formally inaugurated within two months. The officials said that they had been working on the website since January and have managed to create a system that is better than the missing persons portals operated by the central and Western Railway.

A GRP officer said, “We used to forward the details of accident victims to CR and WR, including photographs, but they were uploading only the description, not the pictures. This would result in several matches showing the physical description of the person being searched for, which was adding to the trauma of the kin.”

The website has been visited by over 3,095 people since it became operational.

A constable, Vijay Chavan, attached with the computer department of the GRP, played an important role in completing the linkages. “The top brass of GRP conceptualised the idea. Features such as photograph of the victim, photo of his clothes in case his face is damaged, apart from a detailed physical description, is available on the website. This has helped several persons who had been searching for their kin for months,” said Chavan, a postgraduate in computer application.

GRP commissioner Prabhat Kumar said: “We are on the verge of completing work on the portal. Once it is upgraded with the global positioning system (GPS) facility, policemen would be able to update the website on real-time basis, along with the latitude and longitude details of the victim, giving further edge to the website.”


Published in: on September 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Walk on railway tracks, land in jail

Try walking on the railway tracks and you may stand a chance of being arrested and put behind the bars.

After witnessing 14 deaths on the tracks within a span of 48 hours (Saturday and Sunday), Eastern Railway (ER) has planned to clamp down on people crossing the tracks or walking along them. Under railway rules, such people are trespassers and may face a term of six months in jail and have to pay a fine of Rs 1,000.

Among those killed, 12 were in the Sealdah division and the remaining two in the Howrah division. Many of them were walking along the tracks while using their mobile phones, officials said.

“While eight people were killed on Saturday, six died on Sunday. Such deaths are unnecessary and hamper punctuality. After the matter gets reported, we can’t run trains on the affected track till the Government Railway Police (GRP) removes the body. The saddest part is that most incidents are reported close to stations where foot overbridges and underpasses exist. We have also launched an awareness campaign to stop people from using their mobile phones while crossing the tracks (even at level crossings), but there hasn’t been too much of an improvement. Now, we will have to be stricter,” said an official.

ER has launched another campaign where people will be warned of the consequences of walking along tracks. Even if they survive the trains, railway staff may haul them up and get them arrested. “If caught near foot overbridges or underpasses, the offenders will get no reprieve,” he added.

Suchitto Kumar Das, divisional railway manager, Sealdah, said, “This has become a major issue. When I took over recently, I was shocked to learn that five to six people are run over and killed on the tracks under the Sealdah Division everyday. Most of the accidents occur due to carelessness. People are so involved with their mobile phones that they can’t even hear the train horns. There is a tendency to not use the overbridges and underpasses and most cases occur near stations. A few cases do happen on the Park Circus – Ballygunge and Madhyamgram – Barasat – Birati sections where there are encroachments along the tracks. While some cases are unavoidable, we would like to prevent those that happen due to carelessness.”

Records available with the railways reveals that the ages of those who die in this manner range from teenage to the 70s. The large number of level crossing gates on the Sealdah Division may also be a reason why people prefer to cross the tracks. For the 700-odd km tracks on this division, there are 528 level crossing gates.


More women now report about crimes on trains

There are more reported incidents of crime against women passengers during train journeys. This fact is verified by the number of complaints registered through the helpline numbers of government railway police (GRP) and railway protection force (RPF). However, senior officials of both forces said it didn’t indicate an increase in the crime rate. More women come forward and register their complaints, particularly after the Soumya murder, they said.

In 2011, GRP registered 40 cases that include molestation and eve teasing, while till July 24, 2012 they have already registered 40 cases. Similar is the case with RPF 22 were registered in 2011, while this year 25 cases have been filed till July.

The RPF (9995040000) and GRP (9846200100) helplines are witnessing more calls since last year, officials said.

Southern Railway Thiruvananthapuram divisional security commissioner K J Joy said women passengers, who faced an issue, avoided legal procedures and related tangles. “This reluctance prevented many cases from getting reported and I believe that despite our efforts there are unfortunate incidents.

There are more registered cases now because women passengers want justice and we ensure it from our side. I am glad that families are supporting them, which is the need of the hour.

To avoid situations like last week – when the RPF personnel released an offender – we have instructed our men to follow rules stringently,” Joy said. Echoing similar sentiments, GRP SP, Rajan John said that the significant increase is also due to the response and help both forces facilitate. “The smooth coordination we enjoy with RPF and local police help us to take up all requests, even pleas for medical help. However, absence of personnel is an impediment,” Rajan said. Official said, GRP has 500 personnel in Kerala and RPF has close to 750.

But the force is insufficient argue officials. Meanwhile GRP has launched a new initiative titled ‘Subhayathramangalam’ under which passengers can register complaints with beat officers on trains and avail a copy of the complaint immediately.

Passenger need not go to police station to keep track of the case, they can get case procedure details through a telephone call.

Thiruvananthapuram: There are more reported incidents of crime against women passengers during train journey, reveals the complaints registered through the helpline numbers of government railway police (GRP) and railway protection force (RPF). However, senior officials of both these forces said it didn’t indicate an increase in crime rate but only proves that more women now come forward to register their complaints, particularly after the Saumya murder.

In 2011, GRP registered 40 cases that include molestation and eve teasing, while in the year 2012 up to July 24, they have already registered 40 cases. Similar is the case with RPF which registered 22 cases of crime against women in 2011, but already filed 25 cases up to July 2012.

The RPF helpline 9995040000 and GRP’s 9846200100 are witnessing an increase in calls since last year, officials said.

K J Joy, Southern Railway Thiruvananthapuram divisional security commissioner, said that previously women passengers who faced an issue had used to avoid legal procedures and related tangles. “That prevented many cases from getting reported and I believe that despite our efforts to remain vigil there are situations occurring when the modesty of a woman is outraged. The rise in cases registered is because women passengers now want justice and since we ensure that, they are coming forward. I am glad that their families are supporting them, which is the need of the hour. To avoid situations like last week when the RPF personnel released an offender we have instructed the force to follow rules stringently,” Joy said.

Echoing this, GRP SP, Rajan John said that significant increase in response is result of both forces facilitating support for the passengers.

“The smooth coordination we have with RPF and local police are helping us to meet the demands and both our helplines are receiving pleas for even medical help. However absence of personnel is an impediment affecting both of us,” Rajan pointed put.

While GRP just has 500 personnel for the state, RPF has close to 750 personnel, which according to officials are too low to meet the demands.

Meanwhile GRP has also launched ‘Subhayathramangalam’, a venture under which passengers can register complaints with beat officers on train and avail a copy of the complaint immediately. The scheme is to help passenger avoid going to police station and receive details on case procedure through telephone.


‘Three hoots alert’ for railway passengers

Train drivers will alert the passengers by giving three hoots when the chain is pulled unnecessarily. The passengers should become alert and keep away from the windows, according to press release of Dos and Don’ts by the Government Railway Police (GRP).

Railway Police Superintendent M. Naganna gave a list of precautions railway passengers should observe while travelling on trains. Advising passengers against carrying expensive jewellery and items while travelling, Mr. Naganna said that thieves were using several methods to steal.

Suitcases should be locked and chained to the seats. Women should cover mangalsutram if they open the window for air. He said jewellery should not be put in handbags or purses, because thieves learned to steal them while passengers were sleeping.

Passengers should be more alert when the rush was more because thieves were at their best in crowded trains.


General bogies of Trains to be equipped with CCTVs in Madhya Pradesh

Passengers travelling in trains in Madhya Pradesh have a reason to cheer, as the railway authorities have decided to install CCTV cameras which will provide security to them.

In this regard, Government Railway police (GRP) will seek the help of the state police from bordering states in-order to provide security to the train passengers.

Decision in this regard was taken in a meeting of Railway officials which was held at the zonal Railway office, Bhopal.

Videography of general bogies will also be done on the lines of AC coaches.

Published in: on May 26, 2012 at 9:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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Now, railway police to accept complaints on board trains

Rail travellers will no longer have to take the trouble of going in search of the railway police to lodge complaints such as missing or stolen belongings during their train journeys. Realising the difficulty faced by passengers , the Government Railway Police (GRP) has introduced a new system of accepting complaints from the travellers in running train now.

The latest initiative has been put into operation by the GRP on the instruction of the Additional Director General of Police, Railways R.Sekar. Police officers and field-level constables serving in GRP, Tiruchi Railway Police District, have been sensitised to the new system .

Under this system, passengers on board trains could prefer complaints regarding their missing / stolen belongings or any other problems they encounter midway to the beat constables of GRP on train escort duty.

Upon obtaining the complaint, the beat constable on board would hand over a receipt issued by the GRP to the passenger concerned affixing his signature as well as taking the signature of the traveller. Every such receipt given to the passenger contains a serial number and information such as complainant’s name, address and PNR number; complainant’s cell phone number; name of the train and number; date, time and place of complaint; railway police station jurisdiction; property lost; any information given to railway police helpline- 9962500500 and rank, number and name of the beat constable and the railway police station he currently serves.

While one copy of the receipt will be given to the passenger, the other copy along with the written complaint would be handed over to the jurisdictional railway police station by the beat constables themselves.

The case would then be registered by the jurisdictional railway police station based on the complaint received and a copy of the First Information Report would be sent through post to the passenger’s address mentioned in the receipt.

The new system is aimed at helping passengers to prefer complaint in running train itself without having to take the trouble of going in search of the jurisdictional railway police station, says the Deputy Superintendent of Police, GRP, Tiruchi sub division, K.Rajavel. The information could also be conveyed to the railway police helpline number.

Even if the passenger is unaware of the jurisdictional railway police station to prefer the complaint, the beat constable would help the traveller in filling up the column in the receipt with respect to railway police station jurisdiction and hand over the complaint as well as the receipt to that station, says DSP Rajavel.

The GRP, which is one of the wings of the State Police, is divided into two railway police districts with one at Chennai and the other at Tiruchi. The jurisdiction of the Tiruchi Railway Police District is vast starting from Villupuram to down south up to Kuzhithurai near Kanyakumari and from Nagore to Kodumudi. Besides it also has jurisdiction up to Bhagavathipuram railway gate on the Tirunelveli–Tenkasi route and Komangalam in the Palani–Pollachi route.

Passengers could lodge complaints on missing or stolen belongings to beat constables of GRP on train escort duty, writes R.Rajaram


Catchy stickers to educate passengers

LUCKNOW: The Government Railway Police (GRP) has roped in telecom companies to help it in its awareness generation drive. On Friday, two of the telecom companies handed over to GRP a set of hand bills and stickers containing information about GRP helplines and simple dos and don’ts for passengers. “The stickers are colourful and eye-catching,” said A K Jain, ADG (railways).

The GRP men pasted the stickers in some of the trains like Awadh Assam Express and at platforms so that passengers can read the printed information. On the other hand, Lucknow division of North Eastern Railway (NER) has urged passengers purchasing unreserved tickets from the UTS counters at stations of NER to be cautious.

The passengers have been urged to verify the details of the tickets that they buy. The last four digits of ticket number printed on the upper right hand corner of ticket should be checked and matched with the digits printed by the printer. If the two do not match, matter should be brought to the notice of booking supervisor/station manager. Railways has come across instances where booking clerks have been found involved in the fraud.


Published in: on August 7, 2010 at 10:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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