Sexual offences against women travelling on trains are on the rise.
According to reports, around 210 cases - including those of rape, molestation and misbehavior - were registered in 2012. The number is astounding as only 127 cases had been reported the previous year, with only 85 such crimes being registered in 2010.
The Delhi division of Northern Railway alone had seen 7,000 people being arrested and prosecuted for boarding or travelling on coaches reserved for ladies and other crimes in 2012. As many as 130 alleged offenders currently are facing trial in courts.
The National Commission for Women has also expressed concern over the rise in such cases on trains. The commission’s chairperson Mamta Sharma during her interaction with railway protection force officials in the Capital on Thursday called for sensitization of the police force to protect women from sexual offences on trains.
She said the RPF could do a lot to prevent and detect trafficking of women since trains are frequently used for such crimes. The chief security commissioner of the RPF, Harananda, has in turn also asked his force to act more effectively and ensure security of women.
“The problem is the representation of women in RPF is less than 2 per cent across states. We are trying to increase it to 10 per cent,” admitted a senior railway official. The entire Delhi division which deals with lakhs of women passengers daily has only 76 women RPF personnel, who escort ladies special trains and other suburban trains that have ladies coaches.
“We have formed five special ‘Bhairavi’ teams to ensure security checks and book offenders,” said a Northern Railway official. On its suburban network, Northern Railway’s Delhi division runs three ladies special trains from New Delhi to Palwal, Ghaziabad and Panipat. There are 100-odd suburban trains which carry lakhs of passengers every day from Delhi to places like Ghaziabad, Meerut, Shamli, Panipat, Rohtak, Rewari, Faridabad, Palwal and Mathura.
According to reports, seven incidents of rapes on trains were reported from across the country in 2012, compared to only three in 2011 .Molestation cases on trains have gone up from 52 in 2010 to 72 in 2011. The number in 2012 was 119.
Cases of misbehaviour has increased from 33 in 2010 to 52 in 2011. As many as 84 cases were reported in 2012.
Around 120 people were arrested for crimes against women in 2010, the number shot up to 146 in 2011 and 170 in 2012. Currently, 1,275 trains are being escorted by RPF daily on an average, in addition to 2,220 trains escorted by government railway police in various states.