We are all for clean-ups, but certainly not for clean-up terror. In a report in this paper we highlighted that the Mulund police have arrested a clean-up marshal supervisor for hurling a paver block at a citizen over non-payment of fine for spitting on the road. The incident caused the victim to lose two teeth and left him with a broken upper jaw.
The victim was seen spitting on the ground at the station. Two clean-up marshals demanded a fine of Rs 500 and he said he did not have the money - that’s when the trouble began. They abused him, searched his pockets and finally beat him up brutally, smashing his face with a paver block. He is recuperating now in a hospital, while the police have nabbed one marshal.
The incident should act as catalyst for investigation against clean-up marshals posted all over the city. Firstly, there have to be clear rules and fines for spitting and dirtying the place. These have to be prominently placed on the station notice board or next to ticket counters. There is a lot of grey area about the fines. For instance, who has fixed a Rs 500 fine for spitting? Is this a universal fine applicable to all railway stations across the city?
Then, there have to be other considerations like what will happen if a commuter cannot pay the amount? Is he to be handed over to the police? Or, in this clean-up goonda raj will he be let off if he ‘bargains’ and pays a smaller sum? While this is an extreme case, there are instances where clean-up marshals have been seen threatening people, trying to extort money from them.
We are all for a cleaner city, but there now needs to be a three-pronged clean-up of the clean-up marshals. The Railways, the BMC and, finally, the police need to swing into action here.
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