Can’t provide Police Protection to all Outstation Trains, Railways tells Bombay HC

Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, Central Railway
Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, Central Railway

मुंबई Mumbai: Indian Railways has informed the Bombay High Court (HC) through an affidavit that it will not be able to provide police protection to all outstation trains owing to lack of sufficient manpower. However, the affidavit states that it will provide protection at night to trains plying on vulnerable routes.

A division bench of justices Abhay Oka and Anil Menon has asked the railways to reconsider its stand, saying that it was required for the safety of passengers.

The HC was hearing a petition filed by Bhavika Mehta, who lost a leg while chasing a thief aboard a train in 2012, seeking the presence of policemen aboard outstation trains.

The affidavit filed by Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, Central Railway, states that in the wake of the increasing crime rate on trains, the ministry of railways had laid down guidelines for escort duty.

“The directives mainly aim at effectually identifying the vulnerable/highly vulnerable trains by respective zonal railway protection force officers escorting such trains,” says the affidavit.

An average of 1,300 trains that ply on vulnerable and identified routes/sections are escorted by RPF teams daily, in addition to 2,200 trains being escorted by GRP teams from different states.

The affidavit states that the railways has taken steps to ensure the safety of passengers, especially in women’s compartments. All ladies special trains running in metropolitan cities and ladies coaches of local trains are being escorted by RPF and GRP officers. The railways also said it is considering providing mobiles to all train escorts.

Further, the creation of 4,192 posts for lady RPF personnel has been announced in the railway budget of 2014-15. The proposal is pending with the finance ministry. Moreover, 8 mahila vahinis, consisting of 1,056 lady RPF personnel, have been sanctioned, states the affidavit.

“An integrated security system consisting of electronic surveillance of vulnerable stations through CCTV, access control, anti-sabotage checks has been finalised to strengthen surveillance mechanism over 202 sensitive stations,” it adds.

Mehta, the petitioner, was travelling from Amritsar to Mumbai Central in 2012 when she was robbed by a thief. When she tried to chase him, he pulled her out of the running train while escaping.

Mehta had approached the court seeking compensation from the railways for medical expenses she incurred after her accident. Since she could not avail of medical aid in a nearby railway/civil hospital, she got herself admitted to a private hospital in Chandigarh, for which she claimed a compensation of Rs.9 lakh. This was granted to her, but the railways later denied her claim for compensation for a prosthetic leg, which cost her another Rs.5 lakh.