An engineering student with asthma was beaten up in the ladies compartment of a Virar-Churchgate local by four co-passengers who objected to her ‘short’ journey till Vasai. While bullying on local trains by long-distance passengers is not new, the latest incident shows how ineffective Western Railway and the police have been in tackling such groups.
In this incident, Rutuja Naik, a first-year engineering student headed to her college in Vasai, was thrashed when she tried to get down from the packed local train. According to her complaint lodged with the Government Railway Police (GRP), she takes the 8.40-a.m. Virar-Churchgate local to get to college. Friction between her and other commuters is almost a daily affair, as the latter don’t want short-distance commuters who get down at Nalla Sopara or Vasai stations to board.
She said, “On Tuesday morning, I was standing on the footboard and was about to get down at Vasai when four unidentified women started abusing me in filthy language and taunted me for boarding the Churchgate local. They said I should have boarded either an Andheri or Borivali-bound slow train.”
Ms. Naik, who suffered an asthma attack during the assault, said her attempt to reason with them that she would be late if she took a later train fell on deaf ears. “Some of the other commuters came to my rescue and even offered me water, but the four women continued to abuse and assault me,” she said. After alighting at Vasai station, she headed straight to the Vasai GRP police station and registered a complaint against the unidentified women.
PI Mahesh Bagwe, Vasai GRP, said, “We have registered a complaint against unknown women commuters and will send a team of women police to identify the accused. Once she identifies them, we will register a case.” Police have also asked for CCTV footage from Vasai station.
The writer is a freelance journalist