Railways reports indicate rise in molestation cases on trains

New Delhi: Despite the several measures which it has introduced to ensure the security of women passengers, railways has seen an increase in the number of cases of molestation and sexual harassment on trains in the past year.

A total of 189 cases of molestation were reported in 2013 by women passengers as against 119 cases in 2012 and 72 in 2011, according to rail ministry data.

Sexual harassment cases have also gone up significantly from 34 in 2011 to 53 in 2013. Forty-six such cases were registered in 2012.

As to rape cases, five were reported in 2013 as against three in 2011. The number of rape cases reported in 2012 was seven.

A total of 290 people were arrested for crimes against women in 2013, the data states.

Although a parliamentary committee has suggested that CCTV cameras be installed in the ladies’ compartment on trains, railways has no immediate plans for the same.

Installation of CCTV cameras and emergency alarm bells in ladies’ compartments are among a series of measures which have been suggested by the standing committee on railways to enhance the safety of women passengers.

In its latest report, the committee has also asked railways to paint the ladies’ compartments in a distinct colour to make it easily identifiable to women commuters.

In order to instill confidence among women passengers, the panel had also sought deployment of an adequate number of security personnel at railway facilities.

According to a senior railway ministry official, regular drives are being conducted to prevent entry of male passengers into ladies’ compartments. Any male passengers found travelling in the ladies’ compartment are being prosecuted under the provisions of the Railway Act, the official added.

While 1,275 trains have RPF escorts, GRP personnel have been deployed on 2,200 others, the official said, adding that helpline numbers have been started in several zones to allow women passengers to report any untoward incident.