It maintains that policing on the rail network is a state subject and prevention of crime, registration of cases, investigations and maintenance of law and order on railway premises as well as on moving trains are, therefore, the statutory responsibility of the state governments which they discharge through the GRP.
Though woman cops guard sleeper and ladies’ coaches, there is no such provision for AC coaches, making women passengers more vulnerable.
No wonder then, the cases of eve-teasing and molestation are rampant on moving trains. Monday’s incident in which two BSF men were arrested for eve-teasing is the latest addition to the list.
“Some trains are escorted by government railway police cops and others by railway police force. Women cops are deployed in ladies’ coaches and at times in sleeper and general classes, but not in AC coaches,”said director general of police (Railways) Rizwan Ahmad. To the question of spurt in crime, Ahmad replied, “Incidents occurred earlier also. It’s just that has increased.”
The preparedness to deal with the menace can be gauged from the fact that for the 2.25 crore passengers of 11,000 passenger trains each day, over 3,000 constables (GRP and RPF) are deployed on duty.
Of a total strength of 5,560 GRP cops, only 40 (30 constables and 10 sub-inspectors) are female.
“We do not have enough force to attend all the trains all the time,” Ahmad added. Significantly, the demand of RPF for 20,000 more personnel has been pending for nine years.
The plan to induct two RPF women battalions also remains elusive. The announcement of setting up an RPF toll free number is still to see the light of the day.
“Railways is a commercial agency. It is least bothered about safety. All it cares about is how to increase its revenues,” a railway board member told HT.