Train bul­lies, be­ware! RPF to arm its men with spy cams

Will Pro­duce Record­ing As Proof In Court

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Ni­tasha.Natu @times­

Mum­bai: To bring train bul­lies and ‘stunt­men’ to book, RPF per­son­nel on West­ern Rail­way are get­ting spy cam­eras so they can dis­creetly record the go­ings-on and pro­duce it as ev­i­dence in court. The first batch of 14 spy cam­eras will soon ar­rive for the per­son­nel of the RPF spe­cial wing. The force has been us­ing body-worn cam­eras for some time, but be­ing big­ger and clearly vis­i­ble to com­muters, record­ing ac­tiv­i­ties dis­creetly isn’t pos­si­ble.

In Fe­bru­ary, TV news re­porter Sud­hir Shukla was as­saulted by a group on a Church­gate-bound train. Shukla boarded the train from Mira Road sta­tion. He had an ar­gu­ment with a group of pas­sen­gers in­side the coach over seats and they rained punches on him. He lodged an FIR and a few days later, the GRP ar­rested five men. “The Vi­rar-And­heri belt in the sub­ur­ban sec­tion is where most cases of train­bul­ly­ing are re­ported. Pas­sen­ger groups block the doors and don’t let peo­ple en­ter at sub­se­quent sta­tions. And, in­side coaches, the bul­lies re­serve seats for friends,” said an of­fi­cer.

RPF per­son­nel in plain­clothes will wear the spy cam­eras and min­gle with com­muters on trains. “Spy cam­eras come in many va­ri­eties. They could be con­nected to a shirt but­ton or a pen in the pocket. The ob­jec­tive is to use the record­ings as ev­i­dence in court. The cul­prits wouldn’t be able to deny their ac­tions when faced with this ev­i­dence,” said a se­nior RPF of­fi­cer.

WR cur­rently has 387 body-worn cam­eras for its per­son­nel in Ma­ha­rash­tra and Gu­jarat; 42 of them are used in the Mum­bai di­vi­sion. These cam­eras are largely used while es­cort­ing long-dis­tance trains and on sta­tion ar­eas. Many pre­mium trains, in­clud­ing Ra­jd­hani, ply on WR and di­a­mond traders are fre- quent trav­ellers on the Mum­bai-Ahmed­abad route. The RPF has been in­structed to curb theft on trains. “Body­worn cam­eras can be used for record­ing ev­i­dence if the loot is found on a co-pas­sen­ger,” said an of­fi­cer. Body cam­eras can also be used when com­muters do not pay heed to in­struc­tions given by RPF per­son­nel or level false com­plaints against them. They can also be used to check the presence of ad­e­quate per­son­nel on long-dis­tance trains, through an RFID-based at­ten­dance sys­tem.

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