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An eye-opener for authorities: The horror on the Pushpak Express

Dacoits boarded a train Pushpak, looted passengers and assaulted a young woman. This must be a wake-up call for the authorities. The train, which was heading from Lucknow to Mumbai, saw eight dacoits boarding near Igatpuri and terrorizing passengers. The incident sparked off widespread outrage and disgust among the public. There’s no doubt that it raises questions about the safety of women passengers.

Eight people gang-raped a 20-year-old woman in Maharashtra aboard the Lucknow-Mumbai Pushpak Express train. The train was just about to enter a tunnel, when the accused boarded the D-2 sleeper bogie. The accused were armed with knives and belts, and began threatening the passengers. They then allegedly dragged the survivor to a corner and raped her.

On long-distance routes, train passengers are particularly vulnerable, especially women. The bogies need to have well armed police personnel and also alarms that will ring in the train and can be connected directly to the train drivers’ cabins. Dacoits exploited the darkness to rob and to assault a woman even more shamefully. There is no doubt that they should receive the harshest punishment possible but security inside trains needs to be tightened, too. Similarly, emergency bright lights could be installed within these compartments and passengers, especially women, should be informed where they are located.

Long-distance train travel pose great danger to woman. We have heard about attacks on Mumbai’s local trains. Public transportation is also unsafe. Even cabs can be dangerous at times. Women need to own public spaces and, with that, public transportation. Regardless of how long they commute, they have to be as safe as anyone else. Provide personnel and technology to enable them to ‘own’ the mobile space if possible. Like any other passenger, they have paid a fare, and they have the right to travel in safety and security. Seeing the Pushpak Express incident will trigger the bile in most people. This is the point; what we learn and act on afterwards will tell us how seriously we take women’s safety.



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