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‘Gunshots, screams & then they were all over us’

Patna, Aug. 6: Middle-aged Subhash Yadav kept on bleeding for four hours before receiving treatment at Mokama railway station.

A resident of Allahabad, Subhash was among the passengers of the 3111 Up Lal Quila Express, who lived through the 20-minute horror.

A gang of 40 robbed passengers in four coaches of the train bound for New Delhi at Kundra halt in Lakhisarai district, 160km from Patna, around 4.20 in the morning.

The dacoits first struck the air-conditioned B2 coach, which they entered after smashing the window pane. Next in line were the sleeper coaches S2, S3 and S4.

Subhash, who was travelling in coach S4, said: “I tried to resist the dacoits and requested them to at least stop misbehaving with the women. Hearing this, one of them hit me on the head with a stick. This was not enough and I was mercilessly kicked and slapped.”

Around 4.20am, the train suddenly came to a stop at the Kundri halt, 15km from Jamui, where the train had a scheduled stop.

Jiaul Shah and his wife Zulekha, residents of Murshidabad in Bengal and on way to Delhi, sensed something was wrong, as they heard gunshots and blood-curling screams.

“The train suddenly stopped. Probably somebody had pulled the chain. Within the next three minutes, more than 15 armed men entered the train and began to beat us up. Most of the passengers were badly thrashed. All the men had sticks, daggers and pistols with them. I tried to stop them when they started misbehaving with my wife. Both of us were beaten badly. They took everything I had,” Jiaul said.

His wife was too scared and shocked to speak, like most other women who witnessed the loot spree.

“The women are traumatised. The men misbehaved very badly with them. The women were molested and their jewellery was snatched. They had a lot of luggage and most of it was taken,” said a passenger.

Akhilesh, a passenger occupying one of the side lower berths and who was returning from Babadham Temple in Deoghar, wept from shock and pain, his right hand fractured by the men who twisted it and hit him hard.

He had somehow kept his right hand dangling near his chest using a piece of cloth as a makeshift sling.

“They broke my hand. They just started hitting me very badly,” Akhilesh said, cringing in pain.

Ram Bahadur, another resident of Allahabad, who was on his way back from Deoghar, said it was heart wrenching to see women being misbehaved with.

“The dacoits were continuously abusing the women and beating them. Some of them were molesting them. Some of us requested them to stop but we were answered with blows. There was no security and not even a single man in uniform was to be seen,” he said.

Nazia, with her two children, was in tears and had a bandaged ear. Too shocked to speak, she muttered, “They pulled my ear hard to get the ear rings. Then they slapped me and asked me to shut up.”

As the train stopped at the Patna Junction this morning, a team of medical experts and GRP personnel entered the coaches and recorded the statements of the passengers. Water and food packets were distributed.

Chandrashekhar, an army jawan, who was going from Calcutta to Delhi, was hit hard by a rod on his hand.

“Right now I don’t have even a single rupee on me. They took everything, including all my cash and two briefcases. I had many important documents in them,” he said.

Arindam Chakraborty, a cleaner of the AC coaches, was tending to his broken hand. “The men were wild and violent and were not listening to anyone,” he said.

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