Sunday, April 11, 2010

Train robbers!

Refer my previous post where I'd promised to narrate an incident which happened in my train journey on 19th Mar, 2010. This happened in the 8.34 pm Virar bound local from Mumbai Central.
The train was comparatively less crowded on this day. I went and sat inside. Almost all were seated in the First Class Ladies compartment except 2-3 females, who were standing near the door. One girl was standing very close to the entrance, though there was enough space to stand inside. My view of the entrance got blocked as a couple of ladies came and stood in front of me after boarding the train at Dadar. That's the general practice- people get in, check out who's getting off where and claim their seats accordingly. The train started moving again. A little further on, the train slowed down in between its journey to its next destination station. There was a signal perhaps. That's when there was a commotion at the door and a scream! Some ladies shouted 'pakdo, pakdo'. Just then a speeding train passed by in the opposite direction on the adjacent track. People screamed again. Next - The girl standing too close to the entrance in the not-so-crowded train was almost in shock! People were getting water for her. And all this happened in a matter of a minute.

This is what actually happened - As the train slowed down, there were two robbers, waiting on the tracks below. Their modus operandi is to attack female passengers in Ladies compartment when trains slow down and rob them. Here too, as the train almost slowed, two teenage boys jumped in and tugged hard at the girl's (standing near door) handbag. But the girl was smart and held on to her bag with full force! This took the person pulling the bag, by surprise. They were thin. This sudden turn of events alerted the women standing nearby and one screamt, 'Pakdo, pakdo'. This scared the robbers and both jumped out. Our train didn't pick speed immediately as the robbers had thought. This meant someone could catch them. So they had to flee. That's when the train came on the adjacent track. One of them ducked down, while one was confused. He started to run sideways, but fear of being caught by people in our train, made him change his mind in the fraction of a second. He hoped to run across the track before the other train passed. But his calculation went wrong and 'vrooooom'! The train passed over him. People actually saw that! What a waste of life over a few easy bucks!

In any other city or location, this would have been the talk of the town or on the front pages next day. But in Mumbai, this is part of life. This was seen, spoken of and forgotten next day. No females fainted watching the incident. The girl with whom this happened was dazed. Everyone tried to pacify her. They made her sit and gave her their bit of advise. Others as usual got talking. One female said that she'd seen the guy earlier. He was a guy of 17-18 years, thin. Once he'd got into the Ladies Compartment and continued to stand even after being 'shouted at' by the females in the compartment. She also spoke of how a similar incident happened sometime earlier also, where a girl's bag was pulled from outside. But the girl could not do much about it. These robbers usually attack girls hanging at the door with handbags, listening to music on their mobiles or MP3 player. They're so lost in their own world that they're too slow to react. The girl in our compartment was alert and so happened to save herself and her bag!

Another modus operandi of such robbers is to hide in the bushes or tracks towards evening and as the train slowed, to hit with a rod or stick on the hands of females standing near the door. In such cases, with the shock or impact, people tend to either drop their mobile (if they're holding or talking on it) or handbag. This is happily picked by eagerly waiting robbers!

There is even a crowd which hangs on over the roof of the train over ladies compartment and pulls gold chains and 'mangalsutras'!

Can someone listen to the growing woes of the women travelling by trains and provide them with some security?!

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