Mumbai RPF Shames Commuters Occupying Seats Of Differently-Abled By Parading Them In Crutches & Wheelchairs
Kurla Railway Protection Force (RPF) in Mumbai shamed passengers travelling in disabled coaches. The RPF officers paraded them with crutches or in wheelchairs after they get off the train. RPF officials have been standing outside handicapped coaches since last Friday with crutches or wheelchairs. Once they get off the train, the passengers who travelled in disabled coaches were asked to use crutches or occupy a wheelchair. They were taken across the platform up to the RPF outpost.
Kurla RPF has posted images of some of the offenders on Twitter.
Person found traveling unauthorise in divang coach, made realised apathy of divang by RPF Kurla pic.twitter.com/Vew6xzGyVk
— Inspectorkurlarpf (@rpfkurla) March 25, 2018
“Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act prescribes strict punishment for offenders. As GRP can invoke this Act, RPF should hand over offenders to them,” said CBI employee Sagar Bornare, to The Times of India.
More than 490 commuters have been booked till mid-March this year for illegal travel in coaches reserved for handicapped persons. Kurla RPF has arrested more than 3,000 able-bodied passengers last year for illegal travel in handicapped coaches.
Last year, Kurla RPF paraded 20 passengers on crutches or in wheelchairs after they were found travelling illegally in the handicapped coach.
Disability rights activists term Kurla RPF’s action ‘mockery’
Virali Modi, a disability rights activist from Mumbai accused Kurla RPF of making a mockery out of the whole disabled community. “Is it shameful to be a user of a wheelchair and/or crutches? Is it wrong? Is it bad? The treatment given by the Kurla Railway Protection Force is appalling and insensitive at the very least. Me and other disability rights activists are trying to spread awareness about disability and these people are making a mockery out of a whole community!” she posted on her Facebook wall.
“This is unjust and needs to be dealt with in the right way. Punish and fine the illegal disabled coach travellers, but don’t make a mockery out of the disabled community,” she added.
Shama N Choudhari and Rustom Irani, activists and proponents of Enable travel, a travel company for disabled have turned to Twitter alleging that the Kurla RPF’s action was unfair.
— Rustom Irani (@TweetsbyRusty) March 27, 2018
“This is no punishment, it’s a mockery of disability. If the Indian railway really cared they would ensure that people using the reserved coach illegally are fined and sent to lock up for a few days. Corporate punishment, security guards, media awareness,” Shama tweeted.
This is no punishment, it’s a mockery of disability. If the @indianrailway__ really cared they would ensure that people using the reserved coach illegally are fined and sent to lock up for a few days. Corporate punishment, security guards, media awareness. @ArnabOffice https://t.co/cIMDGU3bFH
— Shama N Choudhary (@shama_travels) March 27, 2018
Explanation of Kurla RPF
“We explain to them why they have been asked to use crutches or wheelchairs. Some commuters apologise and vow to never repeat their actions. Few others are adamant that they boarded the coach accidentally or there was no space in the adjacent general compartment,” said an officer.
“We have been conducting frequent drives to dissuade illegal travel in handicapped coaches but there is no change in the situation. We then thought of carrying out an experiment so that able-bodied passengers understand how they are posing difficulties for disabled commuters,” said Kurla RPF senior inspector Suresh Atri.
The Logical Indian take
Even if Kurla RPF had good intentions in mind, its expression was utterly wrong. The ones who were actually shamed by the parade were the ones the parade was done for – differently-abled persons. The RPF’s choice of punishment shows that using crutches and wheelchairs is a form of suffering. At a time when the differently-abled should be normalised into the society, the Kurla RPF indeed made a mockery of them.
The police should have taken a different course of action to penalise commuters who travel on seats reserved for the differently-abled.