Rooftop travellers hold up Western Railway train for 20 minutes

Mumbai:  Two rooftop travellers held up a Western Railway local for 20 minutes and delayed other services on Wednesday morning, as they refused to come down despite authorities pleading with them. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) had to act with caution to ensure the duo didn’t end up singing themselves. The two men were nabbed after a chase and penalized.

The duo, Lalji Gautam, 20, and Ajit Pandey, 23, were seated on the rooftop of an Up local illegally. When the train arrived at Borivali station around 9.25 am, someone reported them to the railway authorities. The train was detained while uniformed RPF personnel walked up to the compartment over which the duo was seated.

The RPF pleaded with Gautam and Pandey, even roping in other travellers to convince them to get down. A large crowd soon gathered at the spot. “We can’t be too pushy in these cases as the crowd might just turn against the man in uniform,” a source from the RPF said.

“As it was morning peak hour, the situation was growing chaotic. On noticing that the fast line on platform 5 was held up due to the rooftop travellers, office-goers started rushing towards the slow line on platforms 2 and 3. The narrow foot overbridges were teeming with people. Women commuters had a tough time as they were pushed around. People were shouting because everyone was getting late,” said a media professional who witnessed the goings-on.

Witnesses said the RPF was preparing to climb onto the rooftop, when Gautam and Pandey finally began to descend. They tried to run but the RPF gave chase and nabbed the duo. They were booked under section 156 of the Railway Act and penalized Rs 500 each.

“Six trains were delayed due to the rooftop travellers’ antics. On an average, trains were delayed by 10 minutes,” said a WR spokesperson.

While Gautam is a Kandivali East resident, Pandey stays at Mira Road.