We'll ignore misbehaviour with women: DTC marshals

Bus guards rue lack of support in times of need Vishnu Sukumaran

Delhi Home Guards deployed with Delhi Transport Corporation say they would now prefer to ignore misbehaviour with women on buses due to the attack on one of their colleagues on Wednesday.

The victim, Rajbir Singh, told Deccan Herald that he did not receive any assistance from DTC or DHG after the attack, while senior officers told him that he should have avoided such a confrontation despite being deployed as a marshal.

In their defence, the home guards claim that it proves difficult for them to work without even a baton and the power to detain any suspicious person travelling on buses.

“All we can do is threaten suspicious persons with making a call to the police control room. What I have found is that we are like use-and-throw commodities. The government calls us when needed and when the work is done, nobody cares to ask how we are doing,” 28-year-old Rajbir Singh said.

His colleagues also claim that they are often asked to join duty on short notice. If they refuse, they are threatened that they would not get work.

“We are not given any facilities and there is nobody to ask. If we do not turn up for duty due to some reason, our names do not figure for the next assignment,” added home guard Manoj Sharma.

On Wednesday, Rajbir was attacked with a knife by a youth who protested on being asked to vacate a seat reserved for women. A case has been registered, but no arrest has been made so far. “This incident has shown that we may have been deployed to help women, but we ourself require protection,” said home guard Satish.

The situation, however, is likely to change with Rajbir meeting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Transport Minister Gopal Rai on Friday. Rajbir shared his ordeal and requested Kejriwal to provide them batons for security. Sources said Kejriwal has asked DTC to look into possible measures for home guards’ welfare.

As part of the Delhi government's plans to enhance security, a batch of 2,000 home guards were attached with DTC last month. More are expected to join in the coming months.

Apart from duty with DTC, they are summoned to handle law and order, traffic, university and board exams, bank security, strikes and protests, patrolling on National Highways and communal flare-ups.
DH News Service

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