The Indian Railways has issued guidelines to prevent incidents of crime against women in trains and in railway premises.
The guidelines include action plan, preventive measures, sensitization, surveillance over the identified vulnerable area, notice for passengers and special measures.
Indian Railways has advised Zonal Railways and production units to act proactively and implement various mechanisms to ensure safety of women depending upon local conditions and circumstances.
Twenty-three (23) million passengers travel through the Indian Railways every day out of which 20% i.e. about 4.6 million are women.
In the recent past, incidents of crime against women in trains and railway premises have been a major area of concern.
Therefore, the following steps as part of a focused effort across Indian Railways to collectively strive for safety of women passengers and to mitigate atrocities against women in railways:
The guidelines issued to all the Zonal Railways and production units to prevent incidents of crime against women in trains and in railway premises include the following areas:
The action plan should be classified in Short Term & Long Term Plan. Short Term plan should be implemented immediately from the existing resources on priority without any delay. It may include keeping watch on suspects, regular visit to vulnerable spots by duty officers & staff during their rounds.
However, Long Term Plan which may include improvement of Basis Infrastructure, CCTV, Light Masts, etc. that may take a reasonable time, should be chased with concerned authorities on regular basis.
Preventive measures to be adopted:
Proper lighting arrangements should be ensured covering all vulnerable places identified in Railway Stations, Circulating area, Parking, FOBs, approach roads, ends of platforms, Yards, Washing lines, DEMU / EMU Car sheds, Saloon Sidings, Maintenance depots, etc.
Abandoned structures in platforms/yards, abandoned quarters, buildings at isolated places which remain unguarded/ unattended should be demolished immediately in consultation with engineering department.
Till such time that they are demolished, they should be regularly checked as part of the beat of on duty staff especially during night time or period when the presence of people is minimal.
Unauthorized entries/ exits should be closed.
Yards/pits/nearby railway area of stations must be kept clean of unwanted vegetation which may provide cover for concealment.
View cutters such as these may offer opportunity to offenders to commit crime.
Waiting rooms should not remain unattended and persons should be allowed to enter the waiting rooms after proper entry, particularly at nights and at times when there is minimum presence of passengers. It should be cross checked by the duty officer at odd hours.
Proper police verification and Identity Cards of staff engaged on contractual basis engaged in services related to passengers should be ensured as per SOP & GCC.
No staff without Identity Cards may be allowed in trains and railway premises.
No unauthorized person may be allowed to move in Yard and coaching depots where the coaches are stabled. There should be controlled entry system.
Before the empty rakes are moved to washing lines, it should be ensured that the coaches have been checked properly by the C&W and Electrical staff and locked. The condemned coaches kept in yards/ sick lines must be kept locked and checked from time to time.
After cleaning & other activities pertaining to maintenance of coaches, again it should be checked properly and locked in the washing line and brought to the platform in locked condition.
Proper basic security arrangement should be ensured in coaching yards & depots.
Surveillance system should also be enforced in coaching depots & yards.
Encroachments particularly in/ near passenger area should be removed on priority following legal process and unauthorized entries to railway premises should be closed.
Railway is providing free internet services to the passengers. It should be ensured in coordination with the service providers that the porn sites are not accessible through this service.
Unwanted /Unauthorized persons in the railway premises should be rounded and prosecuted and railway station, yards & trains should be kept free from unwanted 8s unsocial elements.
Special drives may be launched to apprehend and prosecute persons consuming alcohol in railway stations and trains.
Exemplary action should be taken against railway staff involved in such offences.
The cases of crime against women must be followed up till their logical conclusion.
Sensitization of all railway employees and contractual staff may be done. Staff engaged in checking of rolling stocks, porters and hawkers/vendors should be encouraged to report the incident without loss of time to Police/ RPF or the Station Master. Help of NGOs may also be obtained for this purpose.
It has been noticed that generally cases of eve teasing, if remain unattended, lead to increase in incidents of molestation or assault on women. As a measure to prevent such crimes, GRP/RPF officials shall promptly take necessary action on receiving complaints regarding any type of ‘Crime against women’.
Regular briefing of staff at mounting and debriefing at the time of dismounting should be ensured by the Post Commander/Duty Officers/ Shift In-charge.
All Zonal railways may utilize cultural troupes for Nukkad Nataks etc to sensitize railway passengers towards cleanliness, respect for women, legal provisions for security of women and children and penal provisions for violation of these laws.
Railway personnel across all departments should be sensitized regarding their duty towards women and children through soft skill and gender sensitization training in various training institutes. They should be trained to identify women in distress or children in need of care and protection and respond properly. Special sensitization programs should be arranged in ZTI/Training Centers where Railway Employee or RPF undergoes initial/periodical trainings.
Sensitization sessions may be conducted for women to come forward and report incidents of misbehavior against them.
Surveillance over the identified vulnerable area:
CCTV surveillance system should be used effectively. Time to time audit of the cameras installed and the area covered by them should be done. It should be ensured that all the persons visiting the Railway Platform/ Passenger area are caught on the cameras.
The vulnerable places identified for such crime should mandatorily be covered under the CCTV surveillance. While planning for location/ relocation of CCTV it should be kept in mind.
The position of women’s coaches should be fixed at the platform and CCTV camera to be especially installed on the platform at that point so as to provide adequate coverage of these coaches.
CCTV feed should be monitored by officers regularly.
Crime Intelligence Branch & Special Intelligence Branch should be utilized to ensure surveillance of the area identified to be vulnerable for rape and other heinous crime related to human body (women) in addition to being done regularly by concerned RPF executive staff.
Use of National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO) may be made for keeping surveillance of offenders residing in that area.
Special measures to be adopted for prevention of such crime in trains:
Escort parties to be briefed properly about the steps to eradicate chances of such heinous crime in train. They should be extra cautious during the night.
Toilets are the most common place where the incidents have been reported in past. As such any gathering of persons near the toilets should be removed.
Usually Coach attendants/AC Mechanic remains at their allotted seats near the entry/exit gates which can be helpful to have surveillance over the space. Escort party should ensure briefing of these staff and pantry car staff who are moving in the trains, taking them in confidence to report any suspected activities or probabilities of such crime to them and the escort staff should act on it properly.
Proper care should be taken for Security of lady passengers traveling alone or with small children by focusing on proper implementation of Meri Saheli initiative.
Escorting staff should be briefed to be courteous with passengers especially with ladies passengers.
Train Captain/ Suptd. should be asked to cross check the identity cards of all out sourced staff working in the train. PCSCs/ Sr.DCC should coordinate with their counter parts of Commercial, Electrical, S&T and Mechanical dept. counterparts to ensure good coordination between all staff on board and ensure that all the outsourced staff bears Identity Card issued after proper Police Verification. Cross checking should be ensured by these departments also.
It should be ensured that the CCTV cameras and Emergency Response System installed in the coaches are in working condition and are attended properly.
Usually, ladies coaches are near/with the train Guard in the tail end of trains which at many places remains outside the Platform area. Escort parties and station RPF/ GRP staff should ensure that they are attended properly at the halting stations.
Staff deployed in train escort & in yards should be careful when the train approaches or leaves the station where the speed of train is restricted and criminals usually jump out from the running train. They must ensure that the persons jumping from the trains are apprehended and questioned for further necessary action.
Notice for passengers:
Though, the details of helpline numbers are printed on the reverse of train tickets, helpline numbers provided by railways should be widely publicized.
People should be made aware of Pan India Emergency Response System and other important forum and calling facilities available for reporting offences and particularly offences against women in that area.
People should be made aware of “One Stop Centre (OSC) which is exclusively designed to provide integrated services such medical aid, police assistance, legal counseling/court case management, psychological, social counseling and temporary shelter to women affected by violence under one roof.
Proper advertisements educating the passengers should be published in various print, electronic and social media platforms.
Guidelines issued by Indian Railways advised All Zonal Railways and Production Units that these instructions are merely indicative and not exhaustive and acting proactively, field units may implement various other mechanisms to ensure safety of women depending upon local conditions and circumstances.