If you thought your safety at railway stations was the responsibility of the government railway police (GRP) and the railway protection force (RPF), then think again.
According to officials, the duties and responsibilities of the two agencies are very clear and well-defined. While the GRP is responsible for any railway crime in the city, the RPF is to guard and protect the railway property.
But most commuters do not understand the demarcation and usually face problems when they approach either of the agencies to file a complaint.
While both agencies maintain that it is their duty to guide the people to the right authorities, there have been several incidents where commuters have been left hassled and harassed because of the jurisdiction tussle.
“I do not understand the difference. As a commuter if I face any problem I will run to the first policeman I see, I would not know whether he is from the GRP or the RPF and I would expect him to help me out,” said a woman commuter who travels by trains frequently.
She added: “On Sunday, I had approached the RPF personnel in Thane for help after I was molested in the train. But they did not help me.”
SB Savarkar, additional commissioner of police, railway, said, “Both the teams are concerned about the safety and security of the passengers, be it in the local trains or outstation trains. They closely coordinate and cooperate in each other’s line of duties.”
However, Anil Sharma, inspector general, RPF, claimed that their duty was only to man outstation trains. “The policing of local trains and railway stations is the responsibility of the railway police. Any crime that takes place in the railway jurisdiction falls under the GRP. We assist them if needed.
“However, if any RPF personnel witnesses a crime or is approached by a victim, he cannot neglect it. He should assist the victim in approaching the right authorities. If this is not done, prompt action will be taken against the personnel concerned.”
Sharma said action would be taken against the RPF personnel who did not cooperate with the woman who was allegedly molested in the train on Sunday.