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Old February 23rd, 2003, 07:46 PM
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Cops beat up people at railway station

After waiting in the queue at the reservation counter at Mulund railway station for over 18 hours, Ramashray Chauhan, a 40-year-old resident of Indira Nagar in Mulund (W), never expected that he would go home nursing injuries instead of confirmed tickets to his hometown in Varanasi.

Chauhan was among the seven others who suffered injuries when pandemonium struck at the counter in the early hours of Feb 15.

According to the injured and railway authorities, the disorder was caused by policemen from the Navghar police station who launched a lathi charge on people standing in the queue.

Says Chauhan, "At about three in the morning when we were waiting in the queue a police jeep arrived.

Before we could realise what happened, the policemen resorted to a lathi charge. I received a blow on my face and fell unconscious."

Chauhan received five stitches on his forehead. He says, "The only thing the police said was 'why don't you allow the agents to sit in the line'. I was standing in the queue from 9 am on Feb 14."

According to railway officials, even constables of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) were not spared.

Says one of them, "I had a blanket to cover myself. I escaped the blow because they saw the uniform.”

The incident has caused a stand-off between the railways and the police.

Says KO Abraham, station manager, "They entered the railway premises without permission.

The RPF and the railways have written to the higher authorities about the incident. I feel very sorry for whatever happened.

The ticket-booking season for the vacations has just begun and things were going smoothly until this happened."

When contacted, Dhananjay Kamalakar, DCP, says that the three policemen involved in the incident have been suspended. "An ACP-level inquiry is currently on.

The final decision will be taken only after the enquiry is complete," he adds.

According to him, the police team went there because they received a complaint of pick-pocketing and wanted to investigate.

"The policemen didn't enter the railway premises," adds Kamalakar.
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Old February 23rd, 2003, 07:46 PM
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Locals on the issue

Madhu Kotian
Member, Divisional Railway Users Consultant Committee (DRUCC)

"From what I have heard, I think the police wanted to help the ticketing agents.”

Prabhakar Shinde
Municipal councillor and local Shiv Sena leader

"According to me, it was an attempt to disrupt the normal functioning at the ticketing counter.”

Nandkumar Vaiti
Municipal councillor and local NCP leader

“Since it is the ticketing season, I think agents will do everything possible for their own benefit."

Dilip Domadia
Trustee, Yuvak Pratisthan

”I feel the guilty should be punished. The police had no business interfering in the functioning of the railway station.”
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