Assault on female Junior Railway Engineer at Ernakulam an eye opener for Railways: Unions

Ernakulam Jn (ERS): A female Junior Engineer was inspecting a Railway Coach as part of the periodic overhauling checks at the Ernakulam marshalling yard located at an isolated place nearly 500 metres from the Ernakulam South station the other day.

She had to carry out the inspection along with a senior male technician and there was none else in the compartment. To her utter shock, her colleague suddenly tried to outrage her modesty.

“The accused Jayapal, 56, was arrested and released on bail. The woman stated that there was no one else in the coach when the incident happened to protect her,” a senior Railway Police official said. This incident is an eyeopener on the lack of safety of working women in the railways. Often they have to work alone with male staff or do night shifts.

They are even deployed at level-crossings at night in Alappuzha section. The railway unions have called on the authorities to streamline the working hours of women. A senior SRMU leader said the union’s women council was conducting a study on their safety issues and that it will put up concrete suggestions before the authorities.

“The women’s strength in the Thiruvananthapuram division has gone up from five percent to 25 per cent now. So we can’t ask the authorities not to put them in night shifts. Rather they should provide them security as far as possible. Measures like strict action in such cases and deploying more than one woman in a group are some of the solutions,” he said.