BENGALURU: Women passengers form a large part of Namma Metro’s daily commuters, but according to them, their everyday commute in unreserved coaches is not without being jostled, pushed or even being brushed up against on purpose. While Namma Metro still remains a safer mode of travel for women, many say that having just one coach reserved for women in the newer six-coach trains is not enough as a confidence-building measure to help them feel safe.
Recently, there has been an increase in incidents of women getting roughed up and molested, especially during the peak hours. On Tuesday, a private company employee from Koramangala was beaten up by the public for molesting a software company employee travelling towards Rajajinagar.
A month ago, three men were arrested by the Upparpet police for misbehaving with a 27-year-old woman, due to a row over vacating a seat. Women say they go through many such situations every day. Deepthi Prakash Jha, who travels from Trinity Circle junction to Elachenahalli, said: “I have to change trains at Majestic. I just cannot explain what I go through on the train. I count myself lucky on the days I get out of the train ‘untouched’”.
The women CE spoke to said one coach for women is not enough and at least one more should be added. “It is a rarity that I get into the ladies coach all the time; it gets crowded which is very irritable,” said Rakshita Srinivas, a music composer and a dancer.
A BMRCL spokesperson said, “We need to look into the statistics of how many women travel every day and this idea needs to be discussed. I cannot comment further on the issue.”
This response was different from earlier responses on cases of misbehaviour when BMRCL officials maintained that it is the duty of the police to ensure the safety of women.
Women say that there are no policemen to complain to about the mess, and the security guards employed by the BMRCL are either rude or just grin in response to complaints about being “touched inappropriately”. “They want us to ‘adjust’ and ‘understand’. Why should we ‘adjust’? I am paying money to travel and I do not want to get touched inappropriately,” said Radhika Nair, an advocate and regular traveller.
Despite the government urging people to use public transport, incidents like these, women say, force them to choose cabs and autos. “I end up spending Rs 250 to Rs 300 every day because I cannot stand those lecherous men constantly waiting for an opportunity to grope you,” said Bindu Divyesh, a private company employee.
Reported cases of harassment
5 December, 2018: A private company employee was beaten up by public for inappropriately touching a woman commuting to Orion Mall in Rajajinagar.
10 September, 2018: A private firm employee was among three people arrested by the Upparpet police for allegedly misbehaving with a 27-year-old woman due to a row over vacating a seat in the Namma Metro.The incident occurred on the train between Cubbon Park station and Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Station, Majestic.
October 2013: Two men allegedly sexually harassed a college girl by passing lewd comments.