मुंबई Mumbai: Following the Government Railway Police’s initiative of ‘Nirbhaya’ squads to curb crime against women aboard suburban local trains, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has also started a special squad, called ‘Shakti’ squad, to tackle with crimes against women travelling by train.
Officials said that there are approximately 70 lakh commuters travelling daily on local trains and the RPF has provided 18 senior female officials working in two shifts in order to prevent and deal with crimes against women at railway stations.
“After observing the steep rise in crime against women on local trains as well as the response of the GRP to it, we decided to rename and redesign our existing squads of women officers and deploy it to curb the rising crimes against female commuters. Although, this special squad was already on the field for the last few years, in December last year, it was redefined and named as the ‘Shakti’ (power) squad for the women commuters travelling in Mumbai,” said a senior official with the RPF.
Although understaffed in terms of women officials, the RPF has formed nine teams of four members each, two men and two women. The female officers are of assistant sub inspector or police sub inspector level, while the male personnel are constables. The teams are tasked with dealing with any offenders on railway stations and are deputed across the city.
“We are focusing on the railway stations where more complaints of crimes against women are reported, like Mankhurd, Kurla, Wadala, Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, Byculla, King’s Circle, Thane and Vashi. These are the main railway stations where, according to previous records, the menace is more severe, and more complaints are received from women commuters. We also plan to increase the number of squad from nine teams to 12 soon,” he added.
RPF officials said that typically, offenders board the ladies compartments on local trains claiming that they are unaware that it was the ladies compartment.
The figures of these complaint are usually in two digits, and any cases of body offences or any other crime is handed over to the Mumbai GRP.