Rape bid on train brings safety of women commuters into focus

Crime took place despite enhanced security in place

The safety of women travelling on trains is in focus again after a woman jumped off a train trying to escape from a theft and rape bid by an unidentified person near Mulanthuruthy on Wednesday.

Law enforcers and rail authorities are baffled as the incident took place amidst several tiers of security to ensure safe journey for women and prevent crime against them on trains and railway premises. The incident took place at a small railway station and when the movement of commuters via the rail network has come down drastically due to the second wave of the pandemic.

Railways are viewing the incident seriously as a similar incident had happened on a train in 2011.

According to Railway Protection Force sources, the woman, working at the higher secondary regional office at Chengannur, boarded the Guruvayur-Punalur express from Mulanthuruthy around 8.45 a.m.

She boarded the D-8 coach that was empty. Two other women, also regulars from the same station, boarded the coaches in front of the train.


Questions about how the assailant, a history-sheeter with a defective eye, boarded the train, whether he was a bonafide traveller, security at the railway station, presence of the police on the train, and whether there was laxity on the part of law enforcers in keeping a tab on the history-sheeter remain unanswered.

The resistance put up by the woman and the presence of mind shown by her despite being attacked have surprised law enforcers.

The incident has come after the safety guidelines issued by the Railways asking law enforcers, duty officers, and staff to keep a watch on suspects and vulnerable spots during their rounds.

A senior RPF official said the force was keeping a close watch on all trains running through the division and women need not have to worry about their safety and security on trains over an isolated incident.

Besides, awareness programmes were being organised for women travellers.

‘RPF Mitra’ as part of ‘RPF Mitra Yojna’, a community policing initiative for ensuring security of passengers with public participation, and ‘Meri Saheli’, an initiative to provide safety and security to women passengers, are in place in long-distance trains, he added.

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