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Passenger cries RPF assault

Railway Protection Force men at Howrah station allegedly locked up a man illegally for several hours and severely beat him up after he refused to bribe them for having travelled in a coach reserved for the physically challenged.

Bivash Pal, 37, who travelled in the reserved coach of the Jagannath Express despite being physically fit, has lodged a complaint with the Howrah GRP, naming an RPF sub-inspector as one of the accused.

According to the complaint, Bivash could not even sit properly when the RPF men dumped him on platform 22 after the torture. The cops had allegedly taken away his cellphone, watch and wallet, which had around Rs 600.

The insurance agent, a resident of Serampore in Hooghly, later said he had borrowed the cellphone of a commuter standing nearby and called up father Bimal Kumar Pal.

His father and friends picked up Bivash from the platform and got him admitted to Howrah District Hospital. A doctor at the hospital said the skin of Bivash’s feet had come off, a sign of grievous assault, and there were several marks of blood clot on the face, neck and other parts of the body.

“The Jagannath Express had arrived at Howrah station at 8am and when we rescued him, it was 4pm,” said Bimal Kumar Pal.

Bivash had boarded the train at 3.45am on Tuesday in Jaleswar, Odisha, where he had gone to meet a client. “While he was getting off on platform 23 at Howrah, some RPF personnel caught him and asked why he had boarded the coach reserved for the physically challenged,” said the father.

“The RPF personnel demanded Rs 2,000 but Bivash refused because he knew that the fine for the crime he had committed was much less. He told them that he was ready to pay the fine but not a rupee extra. This angered the cops,” the father said.

Railway sources said the fine for Bivash should not exceed Rs 250.

The cops then allegedly dragged Bivash to platform 22 and pushed him into an RPF office, where he said he had been tortured.

Senior divisional security commissioner (II), Howrah, Satyaprakash, said Bivash had only been verbally abused. He later said: “I have ordered an inquiry.”