In the immediate aftermath of the stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station’s north foot overbridge (FOB), commuters witnessed the unedifying spectacle of the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Mumbai Police arguing over whose jurisdiction the tragedy happened in.
GRP personnel said that while the FOB was from the railway station, it was built on BMC land and so it was the responsibility of the city police. Mumbai Police personnel, on the other hand, said that since the bridge was used by railway passengers, the responsibility law with the railway police only. Personnel from both forces were seen taking measurements on the bridge to decide the area of jurisdiction.
Shortly after the stampede this morning, after the dead and injured had been taken to KEM Hospital, police officials came to the scene. When it was time to register the accident cases, the issue of jurisdiction came in.
A senior Railway Protection Force (RPF) official, who was present, said, “We are witnessing the issue since the accident happened. GRP are saying that the incident took place in the jurisdiction of city police, and the city police say that the accident occurred in the railway premises, on a railway bridge, so [the cases] should be registered with GRP.” He said it seemed like each was trying to shift responsibility for the the investigation on to the other.
In pictures: Elphinstone Road railway station stampede
The GRP would normally file an Accidental Death Report (ADR) for any fatalities on railway property. In Mumbai, it would have happened at their headquarters at Mumbai Central station. But on Friday, GRP officers had told their personnel not to file the ADR till there was a decision about the jurisdiction. It was only after the intervention of senior officers from both forces, and discussions between them, that a case was registered by Dadar police station.
“The Mumbai police have begun the ADR registering process,” a city police official said. “Dadar police station is investigating the matter.”
Jai Jeet Singh, Additional Director General, GRP, said, “The place of the incident comes under the city police. They are taking the necessary legal actions.”
The Mumbai Police are responsible for preventing and detecting crime within city limits. The GRP is a police organisation under the State government in all states, and responsible for the prevention and detection of crime on railway property, including in trains, and it liaises with local police forces where railway lines and stations are located. The RPF is a security force under the Ministry of Railways; its job is the protection of railway land and other property.