Beat first, ask questions later

Misunderstandings are the staple of comedies, but they also happen in real life and not always to comedicCompartment
effect, as this story from Mumbai shows.

So many men travel by the ladies’ compartments in local trains while the Government Railway Police (GRP) look the other way.

But
when the GRP did decide to act, the man at the receiving end turned out
to be the train’s guard who had come to investigate a chain-pulling
incident.

The incident occurred on Sunday night at Vasai. The
guard, Mohammad Yasin Sheikh, 40, was badly injured after being beaten
up by five GRP personnel. He is being treated at Western Railway’s
Jagjivan Ram Hospital at Mumbai Central. [Link]

The policemen obviously didn’t follow the GRP’s Official Rules of Conduct, specifically Rule 5 in Section 3: Always attempt to identify a lawbreaker before beating him up.

On Sunday, Sheikh was on duty on a Virar-bound local
when he noticed a signal that the emergency chain had been pulled by
someone in the ladies’ compartment. When the local reached Vasai at
10.39 pm, he got down to investigate.

Sheikh said, “We are
supposed to go to the compartment in which the chain was pulled and
verify the complaint of the passengers. But as I was getting into the
ladies’ compartment, the GRP constable on escort duty objected. Before
I could explain, he slapped me. I fell on the platform.”

The GRP
man then called a few colleagues from other platforms to help him deal
with Sheikh. According to the guard, the five men beat him up without
giving him a chance to explain himself. “I tried to reveal my identity
but the GRP men did not allow me to speak. They kicked me and hit me
with the butt of their guns,” said Sheikh. [Link]

The policemen are in trouble, of course. Not only did they break Rule 5 in Section 3, they also violated Rule 7 in Section 6: Railway personnel must not be beaten up under any circumstances, except with prior approval of the commissioner.  

Photo by Marc van der Chijs

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

Comments

  1. It is indeed a shame that happens ever so often. And trains are just one of the many places one gets to witness frustration, of a hot-headed mindless crowd, vented out on a potential criminal. Be it in a ladies compartment or a richly guarded crowded community place, the mad bashing funnily comes to an end when the ‘affected’ can take the sight no more and stops it.

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