New Delhi:: The Central Industrial Security Force has detained 532 women and identified 10 to 12 all-women gangs who were caught committing thefts in metro trains this year. That's a frequency of nearly two detentions every day. DIG CISF (DMRC unit), Raghubir Lal said, women gangs are four times more common than their male counterparts on the Metro network.
"Despite 246 cases reported this year, police have failed to take further action as most victims avoid filing written complaints," the CISF said. Senior CISF officials said the women worked in groups of six or seven, usually operating at busy Metro stations during peak hours to avoid being identified.
"Case studies and CCTV footages reveal that these women target a person and then board the Metro after him/her.They surround the target and one of them feigns illness or an emergency situation to engage the target, while two of them steal valuables with the rest providing cover," said a senior CISF officer. He said the gang then disperses and to avoid suspicion they get off the train one by one at different stations . "These gangs operate only in moving and heavily crowded trains, which makes it difficult for us to trace them immediately after a commuter reports his or her valuables stolen," the officer said.
Despite the huge number of detentions, these women cannot be prosecuted as there are not enough complaints filed against them. "These women target small valuables. Small pouch purses carried by women passengers or cash are the most commonly stolen items. Victims avoid filing an FIR as it's a time taking process. In case they alert the station controllers about the theft, they are contacted and the items are returned if recovered by our crime and intelligence wing," Lal said.
DIG Lal said it was difficult to keep these women away as they enter as normal passengers after buying tokens. "In cases where complaints are filed, like the theft of jewellery worth Rs 22 lakh on December 9, the FIR was registered and the gang arrested. We can stop these accused from entering stations as they now have a criminal record. We request victims to file a written complaint with the DMRP," the DIG said.
Officials said women pickpockets are most frequently seen at the Inderlok, Shadipur, RK Ashram, Shastri Nagar and Seelampur stations, and live in cluster settlements near these spots."Questioning of these women has revealed that most of them are migrants from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. Many of them have drug-addict husbands or are staying alone," said an officer.