Many Mumbaikars could justifiably characterise their daily commute on the city’s overcrowded trains as “killing”. But for Manikant Singh that figurative description became frighteningly real on Thursday night.
The 34-year-old hawker from Ulhasnagar was beaten to death by two customs clearing agents after the three men got into a fight over who had the right to stand near the compartment door, an airy spot much sought after — and fought over.
The police have arrested the two customs agents, Meena Nath Jadhav, 28, and Kiran Kadam, 23. They started the fight between Byculla and Dadar stations on the Central Railway network, the police said. Singh fell unconscious as the train approached Dadar. A passenger then called the home guard, who rushed Singh to Sion Hospital, but he died on the way, the police said.
“Jadhav and Kadam boarded the Titwala-bound train from CST at 11.10 pm in an inebriated condition,” said senior police inspector Shashank Shinde. “They work at Masjid Bunder as customs clearing agents, and were given licences on Thursday. They had drinks to celebrate that. The altercation started over the right to stand near the door.”
Experts said this incident was an extreme example of “commuting rage” erupting in a city where the average commuting time is about 3.45 hours.
“Commuters have neither dignity nor space,” said RN Sharma, urban studies head at Tata Institute of Social Sciences. “Frustration is very high.”