‘ Those sleep­ing on rly sta­tion premises pose se­cu­rity threat’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUM­BAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NAVI MUM­BAI: On the night of June 17, 2014, the Vashi Govern­ment Rail­way Po­lice ar rested a 22-year-old man near Vashi rail­way sta­tion for al­legedly killing an en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent in a mov­ing train.

The ac­cused Mad­hav Sarkar, a na­tive of West Ben­gal, along with one more ac­com­plice stabbed Tushar Jad­hav, 22, seven times on his stom­ach near Ghan­soli sta­tion and then ran away with his be­long­ings. Sarkar was sleep­ing out­side Vashi sta­tion when the rail­way po­lice ar­rested him.

Vashi, how­ever, is not the only sta­tion in Navi Mum­bai where peo­ple choose to sleep at night.

Many peo­ple from dif­fer­ent places sleep in the open space out­side ev­ery rail­way sta­tion in the satel­lite city.

The Pan­vel sta­tion is the worst-af­fected. Nearly 200 peo­ple, in­clud­ing women and chil­dren from the nearby slums, come to the sta­tion af­ter 11pm and sleep out­side the sta­tion.

Nei­ther the rail­way po­lice nor the city po­lice seem to be con­cerned about it.

“Pan­vel is the busiest rail­way sta­tion in Navi Mum­bai. Apart from the lo­cal trains, trains go­ing to places such as Pune, Goa and the south­ern states pass through the sta­tion. Sev­eral pas­sen­gers alight here to go to Mum­bai and Navi Mum­bai,” said Ma­hesh Salve, 47, an ac­tivist from New Pan­vel.

“How­ever, the sta­tion is not lo­cated at a crowded place. A woman could find her­self alone in the plat­forms if she alights from a train af­ter mid­night. There­fore, it is im­por­tant to keep a tab on peo­ple sleep­ing out­side the sta­tion to en­sure safety of the com­muters. Crim­i­nals may come and sleep here with other peo­ple and may loot pas­sen­gers,” he added.

Other rail­way sta­tions such as Nerul, Be­la­pur, Juina­gar, Airoli, Ra­bale and San­pada are face the same prob­lem.

In July last year, some NMMC of­fi­cials found a body chopped into pieces in a garbage bin out­side Be­la­pur sta­tion. The city crime branch ar­rested two toi­let clean­ers of the sta­tion in con­nec­tion with the mur­der af­ter two days.

The vic­tim in that case was none but a close friend of the sus­pects. After killing him, the sus­pects kept his body in the sta­tion’s bath­room for three days and then cut it into pieces be­fore dump­ing it in the garbage bin.

“The in­ci­dent shows that not only the peo­ple sleep­ing out­side the sta­tion, but the staff of the sta­tion should also be kept un­der ob­ser­va­tion for com­muters’ safety,” said Ra­jat Sharma, 53, a res­i­dent of Nerul.

“San­pada sta­tion is fac­ing a dif­fer­ent prob­lem. Sev­eral trans­gen­ders as­sem­ble here ev­ery evening, mak­ing com­muters feel un­safe. Even as this is not a se­ri­ous is­sue, it should not be left unat­tended,” Sharma said.

Prakash Kir­dad, se­nior po­lice in­spec­tor of Pan­vel GRP, said, “We are aware of the peo­ple sleep­ing out­side the rail­way sta­tions. Our duty is to take care of the plat­forms and we don’t al­low any­one to en­ter there. If the city po­lice take spe­cial drive to do away with these peo­ple, we will help them.”

The po­lice said they are con­duct­ing reg­u­lar checks.

Su­nil Ba­jare, se­nior po­lice in­spec­tor of Pan­vel city po­lice sta­tion, said: “We reg­u­larly con­duct checks of these peo­ple. We have not found a sin­gle crim­i­nal among them in the past four to five months. Our of­fi­cials keep pa­trolling in those ar­eas through­out the night to keep a tab on them.”

“We have alerted our of­fi­cers to keep an eye on these peo­ple and de­tain them if they spot any­one sus­pi­ciously roam­ing around out­side rail­way sta­tions,” said a po­lice of­fi­cer from city zone I.

PAN­VEL STA­TION IS THE WORST-AF­FECTED. NEARLY 200 PEO­PLE COME TO THE STA­TION TO SLEEP

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