[ Amar Sangno ]
ITANAGAR, 26 Dec: A 16-year-old student from Itanagar was allegedly held up at the Bareilly (UP) juvenile board for 14 days by the railways authority for travelling with her pet name on her ticket on the Delhi-Naharlagun Rajdhani Express train on 10 December.
The minor was later rescued by New Delhi Special Commissioner of Police Robin Hibu through his NGO Helping Hand Society on 24 December. The minor hails from Seppa in East Kameng district.
The incident reportedly occurred when the minor was returning from a Rajasthan trip along with friends on the Delhi-Naharlagun Rajdhani Express on 10 December.
She reportedly faced no issue with the travelling ticket examiner (TTE) in Rajasthan as the TTE was convinced when she clarified that her name on the ticket was her pet name in which her parents had booked her ticket from Seppa.
“In Rajasthan she convinced the TTE, as her ticket was booked by her parents from Seppa in her pet name. However, as she entered Uttar Pradesh, at the Bareilly junction, TTE Sukanta Roy dragged her down from the train and handed her over to the police,” claimed the student’s brother, Koma Dara Dodum.
Dodum alleged that TTE Roy demanded Rs 6,000 as penalty from his sister. As she was unable to pay, she was dragged down from the train and held up in a juvenile home for 14 days.
The panic-stricken family members were helpless in Seppa. They managed to gather some amount and sent the student’s elder brother, Koma Dara Dodum, to bring the minor back home.
Dodum reached Bareilly on 21 December after hiring a taxi from Delhi. However, when he pleaded with the authority to release her, they said the judge was on holiday and she could be released after Christmas.
A distressed Dodum, who has himself graduated from Punjab, was left with no option but to contact the Helping Hand Society in New Delhi, run by Hibu, seeking his intervention to rescue his sister.
“I had no option whom to seek help from to bring back my sister. I somehow found the contact number of Robin Hibu sir from the Helping Hand Society’s Facebook page. When I called, he immediately responded and I narrated the incident to him,” said Dodum.
“I am very thankful to Robin Hibu sir and his police team for helping me to get my sister released from Bareilly custody, and also thanks to Timothy Gonmei, IRPS CPO officer, South Western Railway,” Dodum added, terming the incident a case of racial discrimination by the TTE and the UP police.
Speaking to The Arunachal Times, Hibu informed that the student had been arrested for a minor error, on charge of travelling using a false name, and sent to a juvenile court.
“It was minor, just a minor error. If the picture is identical with the Aadhaar card, and only few errors in spelling, it’s common sense, it could have forgiven and considered. But she was forced down from train and arrested only because she refused to bribe TTE. I felt bad when I got information,” said Hibu.
“I spoke to the railways authority, the judge and the police, how come a minor error in spelling could be reason of arrest that too to a 16-year-old girl? Immediately, I engaged my police team informing girl was arrested only for minor error in her name on ticket,” he added.
“Whatever happened with the minor girl was very unfortunate. I apprised my colleagues in the railways authority to take strict action against such TTE who asked for bribe and did insensitive acts, discriminating people from Northeast,” Hibu said.
Informing that such incidents often happen with people from the Northeast, Hibu stated that the elected people should take up such issues with the highest authorities on appropriate forums.