The vicious attack on Apurva Chakravarthy has once again brought the issue of women's safety to the fore. While the railway police claim that the security of women commuters is of utmost importance to them, crimes against women on trains continue to happen. In such a case, the blame is on shortage of manpower and other sundry excuses.
To start with, most of the railway stations in the city do not have CCTV cameras. Among those stations where cameras are installed, most are of very poor quality or do not function.
"I have written to the railway authorities on several occasions highlighting the need for good quality CCTV cameras. Most stations do not even have door frame metal detectors and hand-held metal detectors. There have been no response for most of the letters and for those which were replied to I was asked if I will post my men if these equipment were provided," a senior railway police officer said on condition of anonymity.
The other problem with the railway jurisdiction is that each station has multiple entries. "It is very difficult to post policemen at every opening. On many occasions we have requested the (railway) authorities to close these illegal entries but to no avail. These entries are easy access to the railway stations for the anti-social elements," Railway Protection Force (RFP) personnel said.
Most of the crimes in the railway jurisdiction occur late in the night or early in the morning. Security, especially in the ladies compartment, should be strict.
Aarti Mepani, a resident of Navi Mumbai, who commutes from Nerul to Chembur on the Harbour line every day said, "During the day travelling in trains is not a problem. However, after 11pm or later, as the number of women passengers reduces it becomes scary. I prefer travelling in the general compartment, which is usually crowded even late in the night."