Mumbai: TV journalist assaulted by rowdy gang of local train commuters

Mumbai: A journalist of a vernacular news channel was attacked by a rowdy gang of local train commuters on Wednesday morning. The incident happened in the stretch between Mira Road and Andheri station. Sudhir Shukla, who was on the way to the CBI office to cover the developments in the Nirav Modi case, was brutally thrashed by the eight commuters who even threatened to ‘throw him out of the running train.’

These are the gangs that block the doorway in the local train and disallow others from boarding. They have virtually usurped the rake for all practical purposes, by virtue of their daily commute. Shukla boarded the Churchgate-bound train from Mira Road at 7am. “A group of men had blocked the entrance to the compartment. I, some-how, along with other commuters forced my way inside. The footboard travellers suddenly began to abuse those who had boarded the train at Mira Road. I tried to pacify them but all my efforts were in vain,” Shukla told the Free Press Journal immediately after the incident.

When the situation got out of hand, Shukla took out his cell phone and tried to capture the rowdy commuters on video. One of the goons interrupted the video action, caught Shukla by his collar and snatched the cell phone, while others assaulted him. He was badly hurt and had blood dripping from the gnash in his forehead. One of them even dragged Shukla to the gate and threatened  to throw him out of the running train.

A bleeding Shukla somehow managed to get down at Andheri station and contacted the Government Railway Police post, where the officials recorded his statement and registered an FIR under the non-bailable sections of the IPC – attempt to cause death or grievous hurt. Shukla was then rushed to the nearby RN Cooper hospital for medical assistance. Shukla, who sustained a hairline fracture in his collarbone, was not in a condition to talk to anyone.

GRP Commissioner Niket Kaushik said investigations are underway. “The investigators are scrutinising the CCTV footage from Virar to Churchgate to identify the members of the group,” said Kaushik. “These groups comprise daily commuters. Now, we are going to intensify our patrolling, especially at Virar, Nalasopara, Mira Road and Borivali. Our officials will travel in local trains in plain clothes during peak hours to crack down on footboard travellers who block entrance to the compartment,” Chief Public Relations Officer Ravindra Bhakar told the Free Press Journal. The rowdy commuters control the doorway on local trains, especially during peak hours, by travelling on the footboard. Often they get violent, which is a recurring phenomenon on Virar-Churchgate trains.

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