What is the reason for having such a discussion Indian Railways is always considered to be safe compared to other way of transportation available in country? If you have such a thought in mind sorry my friend its no so. Recent incidents faced by my near and dear ones have made me think OMG! things are not rolling well.
It was about 3am at night when my mom woke up spotted dark image sitting at the toe end to my aunt's berth. It was a man he was using my aunt's berth as seat. Not making any freaking movements without panicking mom tried to wake up aunt, she was already awake. Small discussion between them relieved some shocking news that many of us don't want to hear.
Couple of weeks back my mom and aunt traveled from Chennai to Thirunelveli for a family function. For both to and fro journey they used 2A class, considering the temperature raise in state it must have been a pleasant journey compared to Sleeper class. But for this weird reasons they were forced to stay awake and watchful at night. During the journey from Chennai this stranger boarded midnight his place of boarding must have been Madurai. Seems he was there for more than 30 mins but was switching his seat from one to another.
Curtains were there for his benefit as a screen to hide himself from co passengers he was doing this pretty much comfortably this curtain support is not at dispose in sleeper class(SL). Before settling on my aunt's berth he used Side berth, it was berth of mid-aged woman seems he sat close to her face. My mom said nothing about harassing or molesting her, may be its not his motive if he had done something stupid like that he is a goner. Woman had hard time pushing him away only then we swtiched seat again after getting some licks and push from aunt he again changed seat. My mom also said he was not responsive to any vocal communication many asked him to go but he didn't for his luck commuters asking him to go away were females. Since its a AC coach and also 3am at night non of co-passengers could be at help only the few who woke up in the middle by themselves spotted him. None was ready to get up from berth and wake a male for a dictating voice, "wealth yes its important but life is more, what if he had a knife" as quoted by aunt to mom.
At last the RPF came in shouting the next station, you think relief came no!! then the teribble happpend RPF personnel was not bother by that stranger sitting in other berths. RPF personnel was followed by attendant of that coach he enquired for ticket to that stranger. He was a ticket less passenger then attendant took him along with him placing his hand on shoulder of stranger like good old friends. Return journey had similar chaos a dark man peeped into every curtain and was moving across the compartment. My brave mom got down from berth approached attendant to inform about this guy. Attendant had a irresponsible reply "He asked for a seat I said check if you have seats and that's what he is doing" Hopeless my mom return to her berth at least to protect her wealth.
There was another dear one but was going unlucky, travelling inter state similarly on a 2A class. Similar time 2 - 3 am crossing Coimbatore junction she lost all her valuable belongings purse, handbag sob! her dad had deep sleep unusual for that age his purse was robbed. Getting down at destination they registered a complaint to RPF luckily they had some cash to support their life in suitcase. Later the purse was found by civic workers at track close to Coimbatore junction 2 days later handbag was found in same train 3A compartment and investigation on it relieved attendant was the reason. Happy that all their debit/ credit/ identity cards came back their family didn't force for spearheaded investigation for thief and some cash went along.
I cant collude this topic this is fresh until some big publisher note this statistics and report in their front page. Indian Railway is always going to report big profit every year. Googling for some image I found this embarrassing article on how much Indian Railways is cared about passengers safety. If you have time go through this but its almost 1 year old still worth knowing http://www.goimonitor.com/story/security-train-running-late-indefinite-hours. Ah the last question I'd say SL is safe at least there is only faint chance that you'll fall in deep sleep cause of sweaty noisy compartments.
- Carry chain locks for baggage.
- Padlocks whenever, wherever possible.
- Hand luggage, Hand bags, back pack use them as Pillow or make yourself as a shield to it, fit it between you and wall of compartment.
- Don't use side netted pouches hanging from wall for purse or handbag. Its strictly for Magazines, Newspaper, Water bottles or in generics term not so valuable stuff.
- If you are ready to travel on AC compartment why choose night travel. If you don't have much of work to do at day light prefer travelling at day.