A safety audit of city railway stations revealed that commuters felt unsafe because of inadequate security and a lack of police patrolling at stations.
The audit found that there were few policemen and policewomen at stations and those present were indifferent and callous.
Conducted by Akshara, a non-profit, the project undertook safety walks by 69 students from KC College at Sion, Parel, Elphinstone Road, Reay Road and Matunga Road and Z-bridge during the day and night
Most female commuters complained that more female police constables were required.
They added that they are greeted with lewd remarks and stares from not just male commuters but also from groups of men who whistle, laugh and touch female commuters on station platforms, bridges and skywalks.
Inadequate lighting was another important issue which commuters mentioned. “This report is a cry to change and improve safety regulations for commuters in general, and women commuters in specific. Even if a few suggestions are incorporated, the difference will be huge, and it will be a step towards ensuring safety of the general public,” said Nandita Shah, co-director, Akshara.
The NGO will submit these findings to the railway authorities. While stations can be adequately lit to make women commuters feel safe, the NGO has recommended that railway police patrol platforms, bridges and skywalks frequently, throughout the day to curb misbehaviour.
Apart from this, Akshara will initiate awareness campaigns in and around stations, to spread awareness about the 103 helpline, the railway helpline and sexual harassment in general.
“Akshara can also partner with the railway police and conduct training sessions and workshops to deal with sexual harassment and help officials respond to such crimes in an effective and quick manner,” added Shah.