BHOPAL: Railway journey for women in Madhya Pradesh is safe, if one believes the figures provided by the Government Railway Police (GRP). In the past five years, only 137 cases of eve-teasing were reported from various railway junctions of the state. Nowhere in the state had FIRs registered against eve-teasing or harassment of women reached double figures in a year. Nevertheless, Bhopal, Itarsi and Amla junctions topped in numbers of FIRs registered in five years from 2015-2020.
An RTI activist, Vivek Pandey, had filed an application under the Right to Information Act with the ministry of railways asking for information on the number of incidents of eve-teasing inside trains and FIRs registered on complaints. According to the reply received, only 137 cases have been registered under the IPC sections 354 and 509 invoked in cases of eve-teasing and harassing of women or for making lewd or obscene gestures at women in the past five years.
“The ministry of railways had forwarded my application to important railway junctions across the state. I’ve received replies from 8 railway junctions across MP, but the Jabalpur GRP hasn’t responded yet,” said Pandey.
Figures of complaint remained abnormally low in 2020, as most of the train operations were cancelled for most of the time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Experts also cast doubts on the number of reported cases versus actual cases that went unreported either due to unawareness of the victims, or because they chose to avoid unnecessary invitation of problems that come along with reporting such cases.