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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dial 182 for RPF - will it work?

I came across a news article about dialing 182 for RPF. While I have no idea if this will actually work, I do appreciate the initiative.

In India, unfortunately, I have had bitter experience with RPF (Railway Protection Force) in the year 2000. The nightmares just were refreshed once I read about this news. I recall writing to a prominent daily about the incident as well, but it was not published. Not that I care, as I have this wonderful platform to reach out to the world.

So, it was 16 years back when this incident happened. My parents and I were traveling in Kanchenjunga Express traveling from Sealdah to Farakka. We were traveling in a chair car, reserved seats. The travel started well and we boarded on time. The journey was eventless till the train reached the Bardhaman station.

At the Bardhaman station, there was a sudden rush and many people entered our compartment. It was suddenly too crowded around us. Once the crowd thinned, we suddenly noticed that our main suitcase was gone from the overhead bin! Gone! Disappeared, without a trace! The moment we noticed it, my father and I ran frantically towards the exit trying to see who took it. The people around us did not even care. No one had noticed anything! (Of course!) I even saw few people smiling at our tragedy, which shocked me. One of them was a junior guy from the school where I studied. (I hope he has developed some sense of empathy in all these years. If he is still a moron, all the best to him.)

Anyway, we descended from the train and went to register a complaint with the RPF posted there.

When my father politely narrated the incident to them, their first question was - "Are you making this up?" We said - "No". Then we requested to have the complaint registered, to which they said, "There are no pages left in the complaint book. You have to bring a page and write it down." We got a page and then I asked for a pen. None of the officers had any pen. Would you believe that?

At this point, I am not sure how my father felt, but I was filled with a mix of myriad emotions ranging from anger, disbelief, sadness and anxiety! We understood pretty well that it would not work out as the people we were dealing with were potentially hands in gloves with the criminals.

Our thoughts transcended to the fact that my mother was sitting alone in the train crying her hearts out and the train could get started any moment. We decided to leave the matter and get back in the compartment.

I suddenly remembered the incident thinking if RPF has really changed. I am still filled with disbelief. I have seen the system. I did not like it. Have India progressed in 16 years? Really? Can someone confirm?

Well, 16 years on, dial 182 in case if you face any issues in an Indian train. Consider yourself lucky if someone responds.

Jai ho!