mumbai local
Mumbai local train [Representational image]Reuters

The fatka gangs have been a menace along the Mumbai suburban railways tracks since 2016 and the miscreants have reportedly committed a string of thefts, mostly targetting commuters on the local trains. 

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis wrote to the state legislative assembly Tuesday, March 20, and confirmed that there have been about 200 such thefts committed by the notorious gang members.

Fadnavis mentioned about the gangs in his written reply to Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Bhimrao Dhonde's query. The chief minister confirmed that there were 146 cases on the Central Line and 56 cases on the Western Line registered against the fatka gangs.

Despite such massive numbers of cases registered against them, only 33 Central line case and three cases on the Western line have been solved by the cops, the Times of India reported. 

What are "fatka" gangs? 

The "fatka" gangs are groups that operate along the railway tracks and robs commuters. The robbers do not get on the train and instead operate on tracks that are near railway stations. 

When the robbers see a train approaching and notice commuters near the doors, they are known to hit the commuters on the hand with a stick. This, in turn, makes the commuter drop their phones on the tracks, which is then picked up by the gangs, reported TOI. 

The gangs mostly targets commuters who have their mobile phones in their hands or those who listen to music with their headphones 

The commuters are not only robbed, but have also sustained injuries,. In fact, some victims have reportedly lost balance and even fallen off the moving train. According to the police, the gangs usually operate during the peak evening hours when there is crowd inside the train.

Measures to deal with such miscreants 

As a preventive measure against the criminal gangs, Fadnavis also added that the government is posting additional security teams at each station. Two squads have been appointed at all railway stations for patrolling day and night. The police officials also visit the stations that are often targeted by the gangs.

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) had registered over 200 cases against the fatka gangs since the past year. The railway police have also started helpline number (1512) to lodge complaints against crimes committed by the fatka gangs. 

Last month, a 23-year-old student was targeted by the group and was hit on her head while she was commuting between Sandhurst road and Masjid Station. She was left wounded on her right foot and left hand, DNA reported.