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6 arrested for train robbery, injuring 20

Asansol, Sept. 3: Six youths were arrested in Asansol for robbing the Hatia-Gorakhpur Mourya Express in the early hours today and injuring 20 passengers, including a Gorkha Regiment jawan who was attacked with a dagger for trying to stop the gang from snatching the earrings of a woman.

Around 15 robbers, armed with revolvers and daggers, broke the windowpanes of two AC three-tier compartments and three sleeper coaches and entered the train after some of their accomplices who had boarded earlier, pretending to be passengers, pulled the chain. The train was stopped at 12.30am in a jungle between Kulti and Chittaranjan, near the Jharkhand border.

The robbers snatched cash, ornaments and cellphones in a heist that lasted 45 minutes. The passengers claimed no security guard came to their rescue although five Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel were on the train.

A few hours after the robbery, a police team from Asansol’s Salanpur patrolling the area saw two youths waiting at Dendua level crossing near the Bengal-Jharkhand border with two large bags. The policemen searched their bags and found several cellphones, wallets and wristwatches. One of them was arrested while the other escaped.

Based on information provided by the arrested youth, a joint team comprising Railway Protection Force and GRP personnel raided some hideouts in Sitarampur and Chittaranjan and picked up five other gang members.

“Six robbers have been arrested and Rs 10,470 in cash, 33 mobile phones, 14 wrist watches and an ATM card were seized from them. We have also seized two pistols, live cartridges and daggers from the robbers, who are residents of Shimultala in Jharkhand,” said R.S.P. Singh, senior security commandant of Asansol RPF.

Bishnu Shrestha, the injured Gorkha Regiment jawan, said he was travelling in one of the AC coaches when some of the robbers barged into the compartment.

“I attacked the robbers with my khukhuri. As I tried to stop one of them from snatching the earrings of a woman, he hit me on my left arm with his dagger,” said Shrestha, who was going to Gorakhpur.

Shrestha, who is posted in Ranchi, said he had injured three robbers with his weapon.

The train started moving after the robbers escaped. Passengers demonstrated on the platform after the train reached Chittaranjan, accusing the GRP and the RPF of negligence. They also blocked the tracks for about an hour. The train left Chittaranjan at 3am.

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