This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Amit Ranjan. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

My Phone Was Stolen On A Mumbai Local And “It Could Happen To Any Of Us” Unless We Act Now

More from Amit Ranjan

By Amit Ranjan:

Yesterday while I was traveling from Malad to Andheri, my phone was pickpocketed. In my 25 years, I have traveled the length and breadth of this country but this was the first time that something of this sort happened to me. And trust me; this could happen to any one of us. Yes, your first reaction would be that I should have been more careful. But in my defense, I am quite attentive all the time. I know the ritual of keeping a tab of your wallet and phone when you are at a crowded place.

For representation only
For representation only


The local from Malad to Andheri, scheduled at 7:06 PM, was late, and this led to overcrowding at the station. I had my ‘crowd mode’ on and was tracking my valuables the whole time. My wallet was in my bag, and my phone was in my pocket. Then came the train. A swarm of humanity got down, and another one rushed to get in. I was one of those trying to find my place in the already crowded Mumbai local.

As I got on, I felt something around the front pocket of my jeans. I put my hands on my pocket only to find my phone gone already. I raised an alarm. I tried calling, but the phone had already been switched off. I immediately got down and reported the incident to a constable at the police post in Malad. He wrote down my name and address, and allotted me a serial number, 13.

13 is an unlucky number. Hotels don’t have any rooms with that number. I was intrigued by this number for a lot of other reasons. This number meant that 13 people had reported the loss of mobile that day at the Malad station. And for every reported case, there would be many more that go unreported. It is very likely that I was the 13th person to report the loss of a mobile to that constable that day. But let’s not be very optimistic and assume that this was only the 13th incident of the day. Malad is one of the less populous stations of Mumbai local. Even if we assume that every local station reports ten mobile thefts every day, the total comes down to 1200 mobiles every day at 120 stations.

And till now we have only accounted for the theft of mobile phones, there are also wallets, necklaces, and other valuables being stolen every day. However, I would like to stick to mobile phones for two reasons – first, I loved my phone and second, each phone comes with a unique IMEI number (IMEI Number for my dual Sim phone was 352649074836725, 352649074836733 ), and if a strong surveillance system is put in place, every stolen phone can be tracked the moment they are switched on.

The police constable at the Malad Station told me that the entire area came under Borivali Railways Police Station and hence I should travel to the Borivali Police Station with my original bill and lodge a complaint. He said that I could do that any time in the week. But I know, even if I were told to run 50 km to get my phone, I would have done that without a second thought. Firstly, I ran all over the place to locate a cyber cafe. Since I had purchased my phone through Flipkart getting the invoice was not difficult. I then ran to Borivali Police station. I traveled almost 10 km, from Malad to Borivali, and most of it was covered through a local train.

The moment I entered the police station, I was greeted by a lady constable. Alongside her were two young people who were noting down something. I could recognize the Flipkart invoice that one of them had. Soon, I realized that they too had lost their phones while boarding a train, probably at Borivali.

At the Police Station, I was given an FIR to copy the format for my complaint. From this FIR, I realized that the third gentleman had lost his phone, a Samsung Galaxy Grand, at Borivali just a few hours before me. He too lost it while boarding an overcrowded train. Did I mention that my sister lost her phone Moto G (2nd generation) earlier this year in Mumbai?

What I am getting at is that mobile theft is an organized crime in Mumbai locals, and they might all be connected to a particular network of thieves. Police should leverage the fact that phones can be tracked, unlike any other valuable items. Every stolen phone can be located if theft was considered at par with other serious crimes. The idea is not only to get the stolen phones back but also to give a clear message that all pickpockets can be nabbed and punished. Let’s make the Mumbai local ride stress free and joyous.

You must be to comment.
  1. dushyant rathore

    Every bit of your strory is exactly same as mine. Except it was jogeshwari station. I had an iphone 6 and i bought it just a month ago. The police says that its easy to track iphones but i havent got any update from them yet and it has been 5 months now. I hope there are strict actions taken.

  2. dushyant rathore

    Every bit of your story is same as mine. Except it was jogeshwari station. I had an iphone 6 and i bought it just a month ago back then. The police says its easy to track iphones but i havent got any update from them. It has been 5 months now. Ihope there is strict action taken.

  3. Yashveer Jain

    Exactly the same date i lost my brand new HTC Desire phone in Local train between andheri and khar. It was an overcrowded train and I realised I lost the phone in bandra.

    Extremely disappointing.

  4. Kshitij B

    My Nexus 5 got stolen today…Same story as yours….Overcrowded train…phone in front pocket…just the journey stretch was from Nahur to Ghatkopar (central line)…i got to know just when i got down from the a ritual..everybody checks their belongings immediately after getting down..and some dont find them in it happened with me today… :(..Your point of the organised thefts is very true..this chain and circles run soon as we are a victim to such nuisance..our primary thinking is hoping to find the people related to this crime and bring a change… but sadly their ways of working must have acknowledged the same…and moved even forward with their way of doing things…making it impossible for normal..hardworking and genuine citizens to suffer from the financial and emotional stress of such act of theirs…feeling insecure from now on…

  5. Twinkle

    This 16th march 2016 .. I too had the same story like urs… I didn’t even know how he took phone from my pocket … I had iPhone 6s plus … Brand new … I went to police at vadala .. And placed an fir … M just hoping I get my mobile soon … The guy who took my phone is an hacker he has hacked my icloud and passcode … Now the police is the only hope :'(

  6. Aman Sud

    30 March 2016 . I join the club just like you guys. And what i find peculiar is that even I too got my phone stolen at Andheri. i felt a hand in my pocket, i grabbed it when another person pulled on my other arm . The first guy fled with my One plus One which the police say is getting stolen a lot. Had to travel till Mumbai Central to get the complaint registered. But the police was courteous there even though i do not know about their effectiveness. Apart from the value of the phone, there is a lot of vital data contained in the phones that can be easily misused. And it was amusing yet disheartening to see people at the station treating it as a usual thing. Hope everyone gets their phone back (including me :P). Wishing for stricter action to make the travels safer.

  7. sujit

    my iphone 6s was stolen in the train when i was travelling from borivali to santacruz and this accident took place at santacruz they stolen my phone in the rushed train and i have did the fir but no update till now

  8. Dhaval Mehta

    I guess a journey from Andheri to Malad is a hotspot for stealing mobile phones. Mine was stolen at Andheri while travelling to Malad in the morning itself. I was on my way to college.
    The situation in the police station too was exactly the same. There was a person registering his stolen phone complaint when I entered the police station. There was a similar complaint lying on the table too: same station, same platform, same journey details. Just the time and phone was different.
    But I also saw one person getting his phone back when I was registering my complaint. Just couldn’t talk to him at that time. So, probably everyone will get their phones back too 🙂

  9. Chetan Mane

    I lost my galaxy S8 in Ghatkopar metro, between sakinaka and Ghatkopar, As I was busy with my phone with earphones connected to it, between I remove earphones to talk with friend and bastards got a chance to steal it, slowly they pulled my mobile with the help of headset and easily they got success all this happen within 5 minutes, I have reported to Andheri police station but they haven’t given me FIR copy, but only gave me missing report copy. please suggest something helpful.

  10. Shreyas Kurade

    Dear sir, my name is shreyas kurade from mumbai I have lost my mobile (Vivo 1606..Y53) crown gold colour
    IMEI1-865450036961655 IMEI2-865450036961648 .My lost mobile no.9082027038 . On the date-23/12/17 at 6.30 p.m. mahape circle at Ghansoli,navi mumbai. please help me to find my mobile. My alternate no 9820829819

More from Amit Ranjan

Similar Posts

By Pabitra Saha

By Ashraf Nehal

By Susmita Monali

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below