Friday, August 21, 2015

NEW DELHI: Even as railways tries to get control over maintenance of law and order in trains and station premises from state government, the latest government data could bolster its case as it shows security for travelers getting worse over the years.

Crime in railways has now touched a new high as 392 cases of murder, 122 of rape, 440 of kidnapping and abduction, 1,128 of robbery, 80 of dacoity and 22,477 cases of theft has been reported across India in 2014, according to a National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report.

In 2013, 270 cases of murder, 54 of rape, 1,096 of robbery and 48 of dacoity were reported. The number of thefts and robberies of passengers' belongings has reached 23,605 in 2014 as against 19,133 in 2013 in trains and railway premises.

In 2014, maximum cases of murder (120) in trains or railway premises were reported from West Bengal, followed by Bihar (60) and Uttar Pradesh (30). West Bengal tops the chart when it comes to cases of rape in rail premises (85), followed by Madhya Pradesh (11) and Maharashtra (6).

Interestingly, maximum cases of robbery were reported in Maharashtra (709), followed by Karnataka (96) and Delhi (62). Many in railways were surprised with only 27 case of robbery being reported from UP and 22 from Bihar. Maharashtra also reported maximum number of theft cases (4,321), followed by UP (4,061) and Madhya Pradesh (3,013). Bihar reported only 1,496 such cases.


The new dispensation in railways led by minister Suresh Prabhu is pushing for installing integrated security system aimed at improving security on railway premises, ensuring safety of the people and averting terror attacks. With law and order being a state subject, the security of passengers is dealt by state-controlled General Reserve Police (GRP) half of whose pay bill is paid by the transporter, but the blame of any untoward incident lands squarely on the railways.

Not satisfied with GRP's functioning, railways has been pushing for more powers to its own Railway Protection Force (RPF) for seamless policing at rail premises. Prabhu has said that the existing system of managing security by the GRP was causing glitches in seamless policing.

"The GRP is under various state govts, causing glitch in seamless policing, resulting in several complaints. Pursuing with states for change (sic)," he had tweeted.

The RPF is meant for protecting railway properties, passenger areas and passengers though it has limited police powers which are mainly vested with the GRP for which railways bears half the cost. However, the dual responsibility system involving the GRP and the RPF has created many glitches for railways in providing seamless security to passengers.

There are several cases of passengers not being able to lodge complaints of theft or other crime incidents because of state boundary issues. The minister has written letters to all chief ministers seeking their consent for amending the RPF Act, 1957 to empower the RPF and reduce the role of the GRP.

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