Bengaluru: A section of transgenders approaching railway passengers, demanding money is a common scene. However, acting on numerous complaints, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has decided to launch a major crackdown in trains in Bengaluru, Mysuru and Hubbali divisions.
A letter from the office of the Chief Security Commissioner (CSC) in Hubballi on Thursday has directed the respective senior divisional security commissioners to launch an eight-week drive immediately.
A passenger from Bengaluru was among those who filed complaints against the harassment meted out to passengers by transgenders.
The Bengaluru passenger, in a complaint to the Ministry of Railways and other organisations, recounted that when he was travelling in the general compartment of a train from Renigunta to Bengaluru on December 31, 2015, six transgenders entered the compartment at Gooty (Andhra Pradesh). “They kept a distance from me but abused, slapped and looted co-passengers in the compartment,” he wrote and New Indian Express reported.
Citing this case, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also written to the Railways requesting action to protect the interests of the passengers.
While not labeling all transgenders as trouble creators, the Railways has taken note of the fact that a section of transgenders resort to intimidating passengers and extorting money.
“There is absolutely no problems with transgenders who are law-abiding citizens. They travel purchasing tickets and they have never been a problem so far. But, a section of them have been causing a lot of trouble to fellow passengers,” said sources in the Railways adding that a section of transgenders plunge into trains without tickets and resort to threatening passengers.
These transgenders work as a gang mostly on trains from Bengaluru to Jolarpet, Kuppam, Davanagere and Hassan.
While the Railways can book these miscreants under Section 145 of the Railways Act that deals with drunkenness or nuisance, despite the offence falling under extortion, passengers often complain but refuse to visit the courts to testify if a case is booked under this charge.
According to the law, if a person in any railway carriage commits any nuisance or act of indecency or uses abusive or obscene language or affects the comfortable travel of any passenger in any manner, he or she is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to six months and fine which may extend to Rs 500.
The minimum fine is Rs 100 if convicted. If convicted a second time for the same offence, it entails an imprisonment of one month and a fine of Rs 250.