Three women commuters were arrested by the Vasai Government Railway Police (GRP) after they assaulted and even bit another commuter in a Virar-Bandra local on Saturday morning.
When Prabha Prabhudeva, 26, a resident of Oswal Nagri, Nalla Sopara (East) boarded the local train, it was crowded and soon three women in the compartment started pushing Prabhudeva, complaining of lack of space. Prabhudeva works as a caretaker in a Goregaon home but this wasn’t the train that she usually takes to commute. When the three women came to know that she wasn’t a regular commuter of this train, they started abusing her verbally. “As soon as I entered the coach, three women started to abuse me in the filthiest of language and I bore the taunts till Vasai and when I retaliated, they started to beat me and also bit me on my arms,” said Prabhudeva.
By this time, the other woman commuters pulled the chain in order to alert the GRP but no one came to their aid and the train resumed its journey. The assault on Prabhudeva, however, continued, she claimed. As the train pulled into Bhayander station, the assault continued in the crowded coach and irate commuters then pulled the chain again and continued to do so until the GRP officials arrived on the spot.
Meanwhile, a social activist Deepa Verma who was in the adjoining first-class compartment witnessed the incident and once the train stopped at Bhayander, she called on the RPF helpline and narrated the incident to them. When the GRP officials arrived, Verma corroborated Prabhudeva’s story. Accordingly, the three assailants were arrested and later released on bail. The accused work as domestic helpers in Mumbai and are infamous for creating ruckus almost regularly in trains, claimed a source who is a regular commuter of the Virar-Bandra local train.
A visibly shaken Prabhudeva told HT, “I usually board the Ladies Special Churchgate local but on Saturday I was called in early by my employer so I boarded the Bandra local and got assaulted. Now, for a few days, my husband and mother-in-law will accompany me to the station to see me off and check if the same women try to assault me again.”
On October 19, Palghar and Dahanu passengers did not allow Virar and Vasai bound commuters to board the newly introduced Churchgate-Dahanu local. This resulted in services being affected for nearly two hours. Fourteen commuters were arrested by the Virar RPF for chain pulling, preventing government officials from performing their duties and creating nuisance under the Railway Act. All the accused, however, were released on bail the next day by the Vasai Railway court.
On November 8 again, women commuters of Palghar, Dahanu shut all the doors of a morning local train to prevent Virar commuters from boarding the women’s coach. This resulted in some of the commuters pulling the chain to stop the train and also delayed services by a few minutes. After this incident, Palghar’s MP Chintaman Wanga asked the commuters to behave properly and not repeat the incident or else he would be forced to cancel the new Dahanu-Churchgate local service.