Sunday, July 28, 2013

Good lord ! Rape attempt on Mumbai local early in the morning as cop sleeps ; Are mumbai local trains so empty and unsafe ? Terrible

Rape attempt on Mumbai local early in the morning as cop sleeps

Manthan K Mehta, Vijay V Singh & Swati Deshpande, TNN | Jul 28, 2013, 01.29 AM IST

Rape attempt on Mumbai local early in the morning as cop sleeps

MUMBAI: A man tried to rape a young nurse in an early morning local train and throw her on the tracks as she was travelling alone to report to work and the policeman assigned to the coach played truant. 

Saturday's incident, coming barely two days after the Bombay high court tapped the Railway Board on more guards, highlights why it's imperative to police women's coaches at night and in the wee hours.

The GRP said the constable missed the train as he overslept. The victim told TOI that she never saw a policeman on the early morning local trains she has been taking for two weeks.

The accused, 28-year-old Devraj Kanka, jumped into the second-class ladies' compartment behind the motorman's cabin at Mahalaxmi station as he saw the 23-year-old nurse board the 5.41am Borivli-bound slow local alone. He attacked the woman, who was injured in the elbows and bled from her lips as he repeatedly hit her. At one point, he dragged her to the doorway and tried to push her out, but she somehow held on.

At Lower Parel station, alerted by her cries, two passengers travelling in an adjacent compartment followed Kanka as he jumped on to the tracks to escape and caught him. He was handed over to the cops.

The traumatized victim has decided to quit her job as she feels insecure travelling by train during the early morning hours.

Cop snoozed as train left Churchgate, suspended

Only two days ago, the Bombay HC stressed "the importance and urgency of (safety) issues involved" and directed the Railway Board to decide by August 30 on sharing 50% of the cost with the state to deploy 100 new guards on suburban trains. In 2011, the HC had suo motu taken up the issue of women's safety on trains in public interest after a girl was molested on a Navi Mumbai local.

The Government Railway Police (GRP) constable, attached to the Borivli GRP, deputed for duty on the train's ladies compartment had missed it as he fell asleep at Churchgate station. He has been suspended for negligence. The police claim they deploy one to two constables in each train between 9pm and 7am.

"Soon after my sister entered the ladies compartment, the accused appeared in front of her seat. There was nobody else in the compartment. He slapped my sister — her lips are swollen now — and tried to molest her," said the victim's brother.

During the struggle, the accused dragged her near the compartment door and tried to throw her out, but she managed to cling on. "The woman didn't give up and kept struggling with Kanka till the train entered Lower Parel station," said a policeman.

"Kanka tried to escape after jumping on the tracks. But two commuters who heard her cries of help followed him on the tracks. He was caught and handed over to the cops on duty at the station," the brother said.

Kanka was arrested under the Indian Penal Code's sections 354 (molestation), 323 (causing hurt) and 307 (attempt to murder). He was produced before the Bandra holiday magistrate court, which has remanded him to police custody till July 31. The police are awaiting results of the medical tests to ascertain if the accused was in an inebriated state when he committed the crime.

Rajendra Trivedi, senior police inspector of Mumbai Central, GRP, said, "The accused, who works as a mason, was drunk. Kanka has previous criminal record: a case of chain-snatching has been registered against him at Kalyan. He is married with two kids and resides at Bail Bazaar in Kurla (West)."

The police suspect that Kanka jumped into the train to rob the woman but changed his mind after he found her alone. "We are going to obtain CCTV footages of various stations on the route till Lower Parel station to build a strong case against the accused," Trivedi said.

Times View: A safe commute is asking for too much? 

The government and the police have some citizens to thank for showing admirable alacrity and spunk and ensuring this incident did not end in more tragic circumstances. But how long does the administration expect citizens to do their work and cover up for their inefficiency? What is the GRP doing if it cannot ensure basic security for women on Mumbai's lifeline? A policeman sleeping on duty conforms to the worst stereotype we have about men in uniform; it ranks right up there along with the stereotype of a policeman extorting a bribe. The time has come for the government to stop giving excuses about why it's not possible for the GRP to man every women's compartment during lean hours. Citizens are fed up of excuses and reasons for why the government cannot do this and the GRP cannot do that. If this incident does not shame the force and wake it out of its stupor, nothing will.