Thrissur/ Thiruvananthapuram: An actress who was harassed by a co-passenger in the AC compartment of a train in the wee hours of Thursday was rescued by two Good Samaritans who were travelling in the next compartment. Actress Sanusha, who was travelling from Kannur to Thiruvananthapuram in the Mangalore–Thiruvanathapuram Maveli Express, said those in her compartment pretended to sleep while she raised her voice as the man reached out from the opposite berth and touched her lips while she was sleeping around 1.10 am.
However, two persons in the next compartment — screenwriter R. Unni and a man named Ranjith — came to her rescue and alerted the railway police. The incident happened a few minutes after the train left Shornur. The accused Anto Bose, 40, a gold ornament manufacturer from Kanyakumari, was arrested by the railway police in Thrissur and slapped with IPC 354 for using criminal force with the intention to outrage the modesty of a woman.
He was presented before the JFCM-3 court in Thrissur and remanded in judicial custody. The actress in her statement to Thrissur railway police said that around 1.10 a.m, she felt something moving on her face and as she woke up she found that the accused was moving his hands over her face. She turned the lights on, twisted the offender’s arm and reprimanded him in a voice loud enough to attract the attention of the co-passengers. But they ‘slept’ right through, according to her. Among them were also women, but no one even sat up to empathise with her, she told DC.
Mr Unni called the TTR, who rang up the railway police officials, who arrived after some time. Anto eventually pleaded for mercy, but she said he will not be allowed to move until the police came. “I have decided to go forward with the case and ensure that he is punished to deter other similar offenders,” she said. “After the incident, many shared how they had faced similar incidents. Most are afraid to speak up. I would be happy if this encourages more women to react to sexual harassment,” she said.
Railway officials told DC that women police personnel were deployed in local trains, not in express trains at night. Following the death of Soumya in a rape attempt on a train a few years ago, the railway officials had recommended that more police personnel should be deployed in women compartments between 4 p.m. and 12 midnight, including in local trains.
Other recommendations included deployment of additional security personnel at stations, placing women’s compartment either in the front or mid region of the train, displaying helpline numbers prominently in women compartments, educating engineering staff, guard and supportive staff on the safety aspects and ensuring internal link between women compartments and other bogies. Some of these have been implemented.