Loopholes in the security provided to women commuters on suburban trains came to the fore on Saturday after 24-year-old Sinavan Muthuiching Muhova was threatened and robbed in the women’s compartment as there was no government railway police constable present in the compartment owing to shortage in the workforce. Though a constable is posted in the two compartments located at the extreme ends of local trains, no one mans the compartment in the middle.
Top officers admit there is a shortage of policemen, which has made it difficult to cover all the three women’s coaches on local trains. A constable found absent from patrolling duty without prior information is fined Rs. 500, and a warning is issued, they said. The manning duty is divided into two shifts.
“This incident took place as the woman was travelling in the middle ladies compartment. We cannot post a policeman in all the compartments due to staff shortage. However, we will take some steps to overcome the problem,” said B Shirsat, deputy commissioner of police (GRP, Western Railway).
The officials are also scanning CCTV camera footages of the Marine Lines station to get further clarity on the description of the accused, and to ascertain how he entered the compartment. The police suspect that he knew that no constable is posted in the middle ladies compartment.
Meanwhile, women commuters state that there are several instances when no policeman is present to patrol their compartments. “Absence of policemen is generally seen in trains moving towards south Mumbai during late hours. It becomes risky to travel in such circumstances, as the number of women commuters at this time is negligible. Constables should also be posted in the middle ladies compartments,” said Dhanashri Rupawate, a Charni Road resident.