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

Eyewitness Account: Woman Pulls Out Axe On Delhi Metro To Attack

More from Shreen Vaid

“I’m going to axe you,” she shouted and began to dig deep in her handbag. A few abuses later, she surprised all the passengers travelling on the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro by taking out an arm-length axe and raising it to attack fellow passengers.

At 16:59 hours on December 14, I received a call from my brother who wanted to know how far I was from home. “I should be reaching Qutab Minar in a minute or so. I’ll call you when I reach Sikanderpur,” I replied and ended the call. All was well then in the ladies compartment of the train headed towards Huda City Centre. But, not for long.

According to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd’s official website, the “Govt. of India/MHA has entrusted the security of DMRC network in Delhi and NCR to Central Industrial Security Force which is a paramilitary force under Ministry of Home Affairs.” The page on ‘Metro Security’ further states, “The Govt. of India believes in the policy of prevention rather than prudent pessimism and hence has directed CISF to carry out 100% checking/frisking of commuters and 100% inspection of the baggage/material to be taken inside the metro network.” If I understand this correctly, all these “multi-tier security checks” take place for the safety of the passengers and to ensure that no passenger on board has any weapons or objects that could harm fellow passengers. Now imagine the shock and the panic in the first compartment of a train running between stations when a woman threatens to attack two other passengers with an axe and kill them.

Soon after we crossed Qutab Minar, there was a loud quarrel between a couple of passengers – a woman was being aggressive using abusive language to others on board. While at the early stages of the quarrel, my earphones were plugged in and I missed out on the issue that was turning violent, I noticed the uncomfortable crowd and paused my music to check the situation. Constantly swearing and pushing people, this woman had gathered everyone’s attention. People understood something wasn’t right and tried to calm her down. Seeing her angry, a lot of people stood up and walked away, leaving empty seats for her. One polite lady asked her to sit down and tried to calm her. In return, the woman started swearing at her, “How dare you touch me?”

Children sensed this panic and began to cry, other ladies started walking away from this to prevent an escalation in the heated moment. Just seconds before we reached Sultanpur station, the woman pulled out the arm length axe with a sharp blade from her bag and tried to attack people on board. Everyone screamed and started running towards the other cars when the train stopped and the doors opened. In that split second, while most of the passengers in the first car of the train evacuated running for the safety of their lives, a couple of women managed to snatch that axe from the woman’s hands. The chaos got the train driver to come out and inspect the issue.

After everyone found out that the weapon had been snatched away, they gathered in numbers to shout at the inefficiency of the metro staff, some security people too showed up in a couple of minutes and a scene was building up. People shouted demanding answers for how the axe passed through all the security checks and cleared baggage screenings. I too asked, “Today the security missed an axe, tomorrow they would miss a gun or a bomb. Why do we bother with the long queues for security if such objects don’t get detected? Is this really the quality of our safety checks?”

Instead of getting answers, the driver along with a couple of security personnel asked us to re-board the train and continue the journey. But the crowd was angry and in shock too, it wasn’t easy to pacify everyone in an instant with a sorry. People wanted to fight the woman, but before they could hurt her, someone who claimed to be the woman’s attendant clarified and explained her condition. The attendant claimed that the woman was on medication for some mental health issues and her state of mind wasn’t stable.

Although the explanation was enough for the dozens of passengers to calm down and re-enter the train as the security escorted her along with her attendant to the station, the rest of the journey forward people on the train only spoke about the inefficiency of the metro security. And rightly so, I too believe this should be a major concern for DMRC and the associated ministries involved. First, how did an axe reach the train? Then, why did the woman’s attendant leave her side even for a second when they knew that the woman’s mental health wasn’t stable? How did the attendant not know that the woman was carrying an object that could potentially harm people?

A few weeks ago, my mother read out the news of a woman being stabbed to death on M.G.Road Metro station and today I come home to tell her this event. How secure is our public transport?

While I raise these questions of awareness in the safety of my home, I cannot help but wonder how safe all of us really are in the hands of security lapse. It could have been anyone’s loved ones, and that woman could have easily terminated someone’s journey for good. I ask if the government will only act upon someone’s funeral.

You must be to comment.

More from Shreen Vaid

Similar Posts

By Shalok Singh Wason

By Pranidhi M

By Anshul Abraham

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