‘ Those sleeping on rly station premises pose security threat’
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