Indian Railways on Saturday issued detailed guidelines to prevent incidents of crime against women in trains and on railway premises. The guidelines include an action plan, preventive measures, sensitisation, surveillance over the identified vulnerable area, notice for passengers and special measures.
The Ministry of Railways, in a statement, said, "In the recent past, the incidents of crime against women in trains and railway premises has 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."
About 4.6 million women travel through the Indian Railways every day, it added. Indian Railways has issued guidelines to All Zonal Railways and Production Units.
The Ministry also laid out an action plan to achieve its objective. The action plan is further divided into two parts - The short-term plan and long-term plan.
The ministry stated that the short-term plan should be implemented immediately utilising the existing resources. Activities like keeping watch on suspects, regular visits to vulnerable spots by duty officers and staff during rounds can be part of the short-term plan, according to the railway ministry. On the other hand, the long-term plan would include improvement of existing basic infrastructure such as the CCTV system, Light Masts and more.
The Ministry stated that this "may take a reasonable time, should be chased with concerned authorities on regular basis and till such time it is completed". It explained that focus should be kept on temporary minor works which can be effective in improving the situation. These can be worked out with bare minimum expenditure or existing resources can be utilised.
The Railway Ministry has listed out the following preventative measures which are to be adopted to prevent incidents of crime against women:
- 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 the 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 the 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 an opportunity for 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 about the 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.
- The 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.
- Railways is providing free internet services to 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.