Attacks on railway gatekeepers rise in Kerala
Kochi: The railway gatekeepers, over 30 per cent of whom are women, are increasingly becoming the target of anti-socials in the state.
According to statistics provided by the southern railway, the gatekeepers at the 373 level-crossings in Thiruvananthapuram and 139 in Palakkad railway divisions have become the target of irate road users in the past year.
This is besides the nearly 20 stone-pelting incidents where often the accused go scot-free as it is difficult to trace them. The worried railway authorities have written to the top state police officers seeking help to rein in the menace.
“We’ve written to the police at the highest levels to help curb such incidents. Our own security forces are also working with the state police to book the offenders under the law. It’s impractical to provide individual security to gatekeepers,” said divisional railway manager Sunil Bajpai.
A total of six cases were reported in the Thiruvananthapuram division in the last one year where the staff suffered grievous injuries. On March 13, two motorcyclists asked the gatekeeper to open the gate between Aralvaymoli and North Panakudi when it was closed at 7.30 p.m. for the 17236 Nagercoil- Bangalore Express.
Gatekeeper R. Jhancy, who refused to open the gate, was assaulted. A person who came to her rescue was also beaten up. On February 6, a gatekeeper who noted down the number of a motorcycle ridden by two persons who hurled stones at the Alappuzha-Kannur Intercity Express was assaulted.
The incident took place between Alappuzha and Mararikkulam. Another railway gatekeeper suffered injuries when he was assaulted allegedly by a man for closing the gate near Punnappra in Alappuzha. The incident occurred on July 18 and the gatekeeper Dharmendra Meena is currently hospitalised.