According to information posted by techie Dishendra R Deshmukh on his Facebook page, he was carrying a foldable bicycle when travelling between the two stations on February 9, something he often did. When he reached Cantonment, a woman ticketing officer stopped him and levied a fine of Rs 30 for carrying heavy luggage.
Deshmukh said, “It hardly weighs 14 kg... But she insisted I pay six times the fare as fine.”
“The officer fined me `190 stating my bicycle weight was 40 kg although it is only 14 kg. She also fined me for ticketless travelling though I had a monthly pass,” he said.
The techie asked her for the railway rules. The officer allegedly took away his railway pass and made him wait for 30 minutes. She then demanded the fine from him. Deshmukh claims the woman said she did not know the luggage rules. “I told her that I am willing to pay even Rs 1,000 but I need the receipt.”
“At last, I lost my patience and I called her corrupt,” he said. Deshmukh alleges that she slapped and pushed him and then called a railway cop to arrest him for misbehaviour. Deshmukh charges he was undressed and beaten up by five people, causing a fracture in his left hand. One of the assailants told Deshmukh that he had to pay Rs 5,000. Deshmukh then called his manager and two colleagues for help.
He posted eight tweets on the issue to top railway officials, including Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Deshmukh says he has also written to the State Human Rights Commission seeking justice.
Senior Divisional Commercial Manager (SDCM), Bangalore Division, N R Sridharamurthy, on his official twitter handle stated Deshmukh will have to be booked for heavy luggage on a train.
As per Railway rules, the penalty would be six times that of the luggage with a minimum chargeable weight of 40 kg. The SDCM also charged that Deshmukh used abusive language and pushed the woman officer instead of paying the dues.
For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the New Indian Express, click here.
From an overall reading of the report, one gets the impression that the Railway official picked on the wrong person to pursue her "normal ways", and faced with resistance, not only staged the drama, but also had the commuter beaten up. One wonders if the SDCM conducted a proper equiry before coming to conclusions and pronouncing Mr Deshmukh guilty.
One would now expect Mr Suresh Prabhu, who re-tweets every tweet made in praise of IR, to have the matter properly investigated and justice meted out.
As one of the promoters of "Cycle Day" in the city, and cycling in general for commute, we in PRAJA feel pained at this treatment meted out to a cyclist commuter.