Patna, July 11: The mysterious disappearance of a 25-year-old student of Silchar from the Awadh-Assam Express has kept senior GRP officials of Bihar on their toes.
Pritam Bhattacharjee is untraced after he was allegedly threatened with dire consequences by four unknown persons, suspected to be members of a gang of luggage lifters, who were travelling in the same compartment of the Delhi-bound train.
Pritam, a masters in physics from Gauhati University, was on his way to Delhi from Guwahati to appear for an examination to get enrolled in PhD course in the national capital.
The victim’s cousin, Saumya Purkayastha, who lodged a formal complaint with Katihar superintendent of railway police (SRP), Sukhan Paswan, through an email, said Pritam was last seen at Naughachhia railway station in Bihar. “Since then his mobile phone is switched off,” he told police.
According to the complaint, Pritam informed his father Shanker Bhattacharjee over phone around noon on July 9 that he was at Naugachhiya railway station.
“I missed the train at Naugachhiya while chasing two youths, who had escaped with a bag containing my laptop,” Saumya quoted Pritam as saying to his father on phone.
Till 3pm Pritam was stranded at Naugachhiya railway station, he said, adding that Pritam had earlier quarrelled with the four travelling in the same compartment.
Saumya said Pritam lived with his father, a retired principal of a women’s college in Silchar, to pursue higher study.
“After doing his MSc in physics, Pritam wanted to do PhD from a Dehli-based university and for the purpose he was going to Delhi. His sudden disappearance has shocked the family and his relatives, who have been making frequent calls to Bihar police officials.
“Apart from Katihar SRP, I personally talked to additional director-general of police (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar seeking his intervention in the case. Even the officials posted at Hajipur zonal office of the railways have been informed about the incident,”
Saumya, who is an employee of IBM Private Ltd, Bangalore, told The Telegraph over phone today that he apprehended Pritam may have fallen victim to the gang involved in robbing the passengers of their belongings on running trains.
“It is shocking that even after three days of the incident, the family had not received any information about his whereabouts,” he added.
Katihar SRP said he had received the information that Pritam was missing on July 10.
“I have put all the GRP stations under Katihar rail district on alert and provided them the victim’s photographs and other relevant information. The GRP at Naugachhia has particularly been asked to locate the whereabouts of the victim,” Paswan said.
He said Saumya told him over phone on July 10 that the four youths started harassing Pritam soon after the train left Guwahati railway station.
“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 Naugachhia ,” he added.
He said that 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.