Trained women to fight offenders in Local Trains

Mumbai: Starting March 8, this Women’s Day, you can reach out to the red-and-brown clad ‘Me Mukti Marshalls’ who’ll help you fend off miscreants.

Smita Thackeray’s ‘Me Mukti Marshalls’ initiative was launched on Friday at the Bandstand Amphitheatre.

Other than the ‘Me Mukti Marshalls’ themselves, Smita Thackeray’s family members including her son Rahul Thackeray, sister Swati Thanawala, Jivika Shah, celebrities of the likes of Divya Khosla Kumar, Neeta Lulla, Leena Mogre, Shibani Kashyap, Vaishali Samant, Megha, Yogesh Lakhani, Dimple Nahar and many others were also part of the event.

The ‘Me Mukti Marshall’ is your new friend-on-the-train who promises to be a strong companion until you alight. The team of 13 well trained women will travel on the Western Railway trains between 9.30 pm and 12.30 am between Andheri and Borivali and Mumbai Central and Churchgate to ensure you’re never alone.

The women, trained in self defense, will be armed with a baton and pepper spray to protect you from trouble.

The Mumbai local railway, once the city’s safe travel lifeline, has witnessed a steady rise in crimes against women.

Statistics by the Mumbai Government Railway Police for 2013 state that there’s been a 80 per cent increase in cases of sexual harassment of women in the trains.

Last year’s data shows that there were 76 cases of crimes against women, including rape, molestation and kidnapping, registered between January 1 and November 30.

“The police and authorities are doing their best to protect women in the railway premises. The Mukti Foundation appreciates their work and our Me Mukti Marshall is an effort to assist the authorities in curbing crimes and attempt to make women commuters feel safe during non-peak hours.

“Lakhs of women take the local train every day. Working women often return home late at night and at such times, the families are worried about the safety of their daughters and wives. Our Marshalls will be a friend and companion until the women get off the train,” explains Smita Thackeray, Founder-Chairperson, Mukti Foundation.

For the first few months, as a pilot project, the Marshalls will travel between 9.30 pm and 12.30 am on the Andheri-Borivali section and the Mumbai Central to Churchgate sections on the Western Line before expanding their presence on the Harbour and Central Lines of Western Railways as well.

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