INTERVIEW: Escorting trains, keeping away hawkers not our job: Mumbai GRP Chief Prabhat Kr

Mumbai GRP CommrMumbai’s Railway Police has drawn a lot of flak following incidents of crime against women on local trains. Railway police commissioner Prabhat Kumar clears the air in an interview to Rajendra B Aklekar.

Following increasing attacks on women on trains, policing on Mumbai railway has been under the scanner. There are 7 million passengers and only a few thousand policemen. Isn’t the ratio skewed?
No. Things are under control. It is normal for any city with a huge population to have such a ratio. Our task is cutout – maintaining law and order – and we are up to the mark. The strength of cops in the Government Railway Police is not a problem. Suburban trains are being escorted as requested. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has many vacancies. It is high time that they are filled up. Security and patrolling on trains is their job.

You are saying that security is RPF’s job? Then what is the role of the GRP police?
Yes. There have been amendments in the Act and the roles of all security agencies, including the RPF and the railway police, have been clearly delineated, more so after the 11/7 train blasts. The task of the railway police is to look after law and order and curb crimes. The task of the RPF is to protect railway property, security in trains and keeping railway premises free of hawkers. The BMC is responsible for clearing those outside the station.

Criminals are using innovative modes of robbery like perching on top of poles and robbing commuters.
These are all old tricks and the police know how to handle them.  Earlier, thieves use to live next to tracks and hit commuters in passing trains with sticks to snatch their bags. The same trick is now being used to snatch mobile phones. We are working at ways to fix it.

Why is the railway police not looking at social media to connect with commuters?
The railway police does not have any regular updates to alert commuters continuously. A social media platform helps where there are regular alerts. Our role is more in the field.

There has always been a tiff between the RPF and the GRP. This affects the commuters’ security.
This is not correct. There is no fight between the two forces. With clarity in roles of each force, there is no question of any dispute.  We attend complaints and we have put up posters with our numbers for commuters to call us in case of a problem. (Courtesy: DNA)