RPF forms teams to crack down on crime, control overcrowding at stations | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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RPF forms teams to crack down on crime, control overcrowding at stations

May 06, 2024 08:57 AM IST

RPF teams on Central Railway crack down on crimes and overcrowding, patrolling stations and trains between CSMT-Kalyan/Panvel routes.

Mumbai: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) on the Central Railway (CR) has formed special teams to crack down on crimes on railway premises and control overcrowding on trains along the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Kalyan/Panvel routes. Comprised of 4-6 personnel each, these teams patrol railway stations and travel on trains between 6am and 10pm, identifying stations where overcrowding is an issue and taking action against loiterers and ‘train groups’ which bully normal commuters. Recent incidents such as a man being stabbed inside a CSMT-Kasara local train and commuters dying after falling off the footboard have prompted the drive, said RPF officials.

Women RPF and GRP officers at a local station. (HT archive)
Women RPF and GRP officers at a local station. (HT archive)

Around four to five such teams have been patrolling stations, travelling inside local trains and identifying suspicious elements since April 29, said sources.

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“We have found several suspicious-looking people during this drive who were moving around inside railway premises and on local trains. When we asked them for identity proof, they had none. So, we took their biometric scans, which were fed into our systems. This will help us keep track of such elements,” said an RPF officer from CR.

Sources said that RPF personnel have been asked to dig deep into people found loitering on rail premises and inside trains and asking for valid ID proof such as Aadhaar to document information on the RPF’s system.

“Around 200 RPF personnel are on election duty currently. Once they are back, we will extend the drive to late night and early morning trains as well,” said the officer.

The drive was started after a 55-year-old man was assaulted by a group of inebriated young men inside a CSMT-Kasara local on April 28, the sources added.

A 4-minute video of the incident, which has gone viral on social media, shows the man, who was present with other known members from the locality, being attacked with belts and sharp objects following an argument.

“The argument broke out over one group having a problem with the other talking loudly,” said an RPF officer. Two persons who were seen attacking the man with weapons and belts in the video have been arrested, he said

RPF teams are also keeping a tab on stations where overcrowding is an issue. They have been asked to request passengers, wherever possible, to board the next train, in case they are seen hanging dangerously by the footboard. This is because at least three commuters died after falling off local trains due to overcrowding last week.

“Usually on fast lines, trains oscillate due to gained momentum and longer distance between two stations. In such cases, commuters either lose their grip or get pushed out due to pressure from commuters inside the coach. CR authorities should try running more trains starting from Dombivali, Thane and Diva during peak hours to address the issue,” said N Deshmukh, president, Federation of Suburban Railway Passengers Association.

Senior CR officials, however, blamed the overcrowding and mishaps on tremendous rush for the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar during the summer season. CR is forced to operate more summer special trains to cater to this rush, which impacts the frequency and schedule of local trains, they said.

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