Almost 6,000 anti-social elements were arrested last year by the Western Railway RPF (Railway Protection Force) for alleged harassment and for entering women’s compartments.
According to RPF sources, such offences have increased three-fold since 2010, when the number of offenders prosecuted under the Railway Act was 2,438.
A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by Help Mumbai Foundation and it’s director Sana Sayed concerning women’s harassment in local trains and lack of security.
An affidavit filed by the RPF in response to the PIL stated that officials in charge have been instructed to catch offenders who harass women and hand them over to the government railway police (GRP) for investigation and prosecution.
Atul Pathak, additional chief commissioner, RPF said, “RPF lady constables in plain clothes have been deployed at important suburban stations to keep a close watch on and apprehend anti-social elements entering women’s compartments”.
CCTVs have been installed at major locations to monitor those indulging in anti-social and unw-anted activities, the affidavit said.
The court, earlier this month, had suggested that offences of crimes against women be made non-bailable.
The court had asked the state to make such offences non-bailable as early as July 2011, when it had taken suo motu (on its own motion) cognisance of a series of reports in Hindustan Times that highlighted the plight of women commuters in the city.
The PIL also cited that the orders given on the suo motu matter have not been implemented yet. “We have annexed those orders which were passed in the suo motu PIL along with our petition since they have not been implemented,” said Bobby Malhotra, the petitioner’s lawyer.
The affidavit also said the recruitment of RPF staff, including lady candidates, is in progress.