<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the fateful Friday, when 23 persons lost their lives and 35 persons were injured in a stampede on the Elphinstone foot-overbridge, neither Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel nor the Government Railway Police (GRP) were present during the incident.Railway commuter groups have slammed the railways for the inadequacy of the RPF, who are unable to control the crowd and further risk the lives of commuters.Usually, during peak hours, GRP and RPF personnel are present on the FOB to guide commuters. However, the eyewitnesses present during the tragedy have alleged that neither of the personnel were present during the incident.Heena Valeria, a resident of Lower Parel, was injured and suffocating. Instead of taking the exit to Elphinstone but decided to take an exit from Parel, Valeria said, “Earlier, we used to see police personnel guiding the commuters in one lane towards the exit. But on the day of the incident, we did not find any police present. People needed first aid but to no avail. People died and no police personnel came for help.”Madhu Kotian of Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh, said, “The railways is fooling commuters by making the RPF an agency for the safety of their premises. They do not bother to keep commuters safe as they are not trained to control the crowd. Similarly, due to lack of infrastructure and lack of strength, the GRP has failed as well.”Rajiv Singal, member of Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC), slammed railways and said, “Both agencies do not have a standard operating procedure to control the crowd.”Spokespersons from RPF and GRP rubbished the allegations and denied to comment any further on the issue.FACING HEATRailway commuter groups have slammed the railways for the inadequacy of the RPF, who are unable to control the crowd and further risk the lives of commuters. Eyewitnesses present allege that no personnel was present on Friday.

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No RPF personnel, GRP officers were present, claim eyewitnesses