Hours after the Government Railway Police (GRP) claimed on Monday that no women’s compartment is now unescorted at night, after 11pm, a 27-year-old woman travelling in an unguarded, empty first class women’s compartment of a Vashi-bound local was molested.
The GRP had made this claim after it was allotted 200 home guards for guarding women’s compartments. Police personnel are posted in women’s compartments only between 8.30pm and 6.30am.
On Tuesday, GRP officials said that though additional personnel have been allotted to them, they have not yet reported to work as they have been recruited from Raigad and Thane and will take time to reach the city.
At a press conference, B Shirsat, deputy commissioner of police, GRP, had said on Monday that 82 home guards have been deployed on the western line and 118 on the central line. “We should avail another 200 home guards soon,” he said.
While earlier, two of the three women’s compartments were manned at night and the first-class compartment was unescorted, now, with home guards available on Sunday, all three coaches are being escorted, the GRP had said.
That was not the case, said the commuter. “There was no constable in my compartment. It was the men in the adjacent coach who rushed to my rescue.”
Shirsat said: “I am certain there were constables in the first and last women’s coaches of the train the woman was in. Her coach was empty as the home guard supposed to escort it has not reported to work.”
Shirsat said of the 118 home guards supposed to man coaches on the central line, only 42 have reported to work. On the western line, 58 of 88 have showed up. “Ten home guards are supposed to man trains between CST and Vashi, but none have reported to work so the compartment was unguarded.”
Men in next coach heard cries for help, came to woman’s aid
“The train was crossing a bridge and I thought there was no escape. Had it not been for the commuters in the adjoining coach, I don’t know what would have happened,” said the 27-year-old woman who was molested in a suburban train on Monday.
Soon after she noticed the accused, Solomon Robert, 29, staring at her and masturbating, she picked up her belongings and walked to the door, hoping to get off the train as soon as it reached Vashi. However, Robert groped her in the moving train.
“As soon as he touched me, I shouted for help. Five or six men in the adjoining compartment came to the grill between the two coaches and saw a man standing behind me,” she said.
The men pried open the grill, which had come loose, and crossed over to her coach. The accused tried to jump off the train, but the men overpowered him and held him against the wall, the woman said.
“I told them what had happened, and asked them to move the man’s bag aside. When they noticed his zip was open, they started to beat him up,” she said.
As soon as the train reached the Vashi station, Robert was handed over to the Vashi GRP, who registered a case of molestation against him. He was remanded in police custody till September 2. Robert is a Vashi resident and claims to be a priest. He was not drunk at the time of the incident, an official said.