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Assam youth vanishes in laptop chase

Pritam Bhattacharjee

Patna, July 11: A 25-year-old student from Silchar in Assam travelling by train to Delhi has gone missing after he gave chase to four youths who had fled with his laptop at Naugachia station on Monday.

Pritam Bhattacharjee, who has a Masters degree in Physics from Guwahati University, was on way to Delhi by the Awadh-Assam Express to appear in a PhD enrolment exam.

His cousin Saumya Purkayastha, who emailed a formal complaint to Katihar superintendent of police Sukhan Paswan, said Pritam was last seen at Naugachia railway station in Bhagalpur, 250km east of Patna, on Monday afternoon.

“Since then his mobile phone is switched off,” Saumya told the police.

Pritam, according to the complaint, informed his father Shanker Bhattacharjee on phone around 12noon on Monday (July 9) that he was at Naugachia station. “I missed the train at Naugachia while chasing four youths, who had escaped with a bag containing my laptop,” Saumya quoted Pritam as telling his father over the phone. Till 3pm that day, Pritam was at Naugachia station, the complaint said, adding that Pritam had also informed that he had earlier picked up a quarrel with the four youths who were travelling in the same coach. The complaint does not mention which coach Pritam was travelling in.

Saumya said Pritam was staying with his father, a retired principal of a women’s college, in Silchar to pursue his studies. After doing his M.Sc in physics, Pritam wanted to do a Ph.D from a Delhi university.

His sudden disappearance has shaken up his family and relatives, who have been making frequent calls to Bihar police officials for information.

“Apart from the Katihar superintendent of railway police, I personally talked to additional director-general of police (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar seeking his intervention. Even officials at Hajipur zonal office of the railways have been informed about the incident,” said Saumya, who is posted with IBM in Bangalore.

He feared that Pritam may have fallen victim to a train gang involved in robbing passengers.

“It is shocking that even after three days of the incident, the family has not received any information about his whereabouts,” he added.

Paswan, the Katihar SP, said he received information about Pritam going missing on Tuesday.

“I have put all the government railway police stations under Katihar rail district on alert and provided them the victim’s photograph and other relevant information. The GRP at Naugachia has been asked to locate the whereabouts of the young man,” he said.

Paswan said Saumya told him over phone on Tuesday that the four youths started harassing Pritam soon after the train left Guwahati. “The train, which left Guwahati railway station in the evening, must have had an escort party (rail police). But Pritam neither informed the escort party nor the coach attendant or TTE till the train reached Naugachia,” he added.

He said a manhunt had been launched for the safe recovery of the youth. “Even the district police officials have been asked to cooperate with the GRP in the case,” he said.


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