Boy with cancer forced off train

Mumbai: The 10.55 pm local to Karjat was witness to an ugly side of Mumbai, as a cancer-stricken boy and his mother were made to get off a train by a few angry women. Eyewitnesses say that a couple tried to board the ladies’ compartment with their teenage son, at Kalyan. They had come from UP to get their son treated for cancer.

As they were new to the city, the husband did not realise that the compartment was meant only for ladies. But, when a constable posted at the compartment did not let him enter, he went on to the general compartment of the train.

One of the women seated at the door asked the boy, whose leg was heavily bandaged, to get off and join his father in the general compartment. But the mother pleaded with the woman, saying the boy had cancer and couldn’t even walk properly. This made the woman more agitated and she screamed at them, asking them to get off.

The two policemen in the compartment sat and watched while the drama continued near the door. They finally got up when it looked like things were getting out of hand.

The police managed to calm the warring sides only after telling the angry women that the two would get off at the next station. Eventually, both got off at the next stop, Vitthalwadi.

Other commuters in the compartment said that there was one woman, who had fought with the other women in the compartment, asking them how they could force a cancer patient off the coach. She even reprimanded the policemen for making the two get off.

The woman who had first objected to their presence in the compartment even accused the girl of ‘sleeping with Bhaiyyas’.

Not contagious

Dr Asha Kapadia, head of Department of Cancer, Hinduja Hospital, said, “Cancer is not a contagious disease like chicken pox.

In fact, it is the cancer patient who has to take precaution and should not sit next to a person suffering from cold, cough or chicken pox, as that may endanger his life. Many times, cancer patients ask if they can
play or sit next to a normal person and we tell them clearly that they can live a normal life.”

Special coaches

In August 2006, the railways introduced a special facility for cancer patients, whereby they are allowed to travel with an attendant in coaches reserved for the handicapped, using a general second-class ticket, provided they carry their medical papers.

These special coaches are marked with a crab sign. However, cancer patients can also travel in general compartments.

T B Sasidharan, a social worker in the medical department of National Railway Mazdoor Union, said, “Cancer patients can travel in any coach. But they have been allowed to travel in coaches reserved for the handicapped, as they might have difficulty travelling in crowded general compartments.”


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