Patna, Jan. 3: A pregnant lady was found unconscious on rail tracks in Bihar this afternoon, prompting police to investigate accounts that suggested she jumped off a train after a soldier tried to rape her in the toilet of an AC coach.
Information remained sketchy as the injured lady, apparently from Darjeeling and possibly in her mid-thirties, was slipping in and out of consciousness at a hospital in Bihar, through which the Brahmaputra Mail was passing when the incident took place. The train runs from Dibrugarh in Assam to Delhi.
If the preliminary information is borne out by the investigations, it will deal a fresh jolt to a country in turmoil over the gang rape of a girl in a bus in Delhi.
The train passenger, said to be a mother of two, leaped from an AC three-tier coach between Ara and Karisath railway stations, 80km west from here, around 4pm.
The lady, whose face was streaked in blood, tried to walk up to the nearby Jagjivan Halt station, around 10km from Ara, but lost consciousness on the way.
Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel spotted her and took her to Ara Sadar Hospital where it was established that she had suffered head injuries. Doctors said she was expecting.
The jawan was taken into custody when the train stopped at Buxar railway station, which falls under East Central Railway.
The lady “is a native of Darjeeling”, Suresh Prasad Choudhary, the superintendent of rail police (Patna), said. Till late tonight, officials in Darjeeling said they had no information if she hailed from the district.
At one point when she regained consciousness, the lady said her brother was accompanying her. At Buxar, no passenger had reported a missing relative. “We are trying to contact the coach attendant to ascertain whether she was travelling alone,” additional director-general (rail) Paras Nath Roy said.
Some passengers said the lady was seated in the berth meant for the travelling ticket examiner in the AC three-tier coach (B1). Sources said the soldier, belonging to Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, was travelling in the same coach.
He allegedly dragged the victim into the toilet. She somehow managed to free herself and jumped off the train around 4pm near a signal.
GRP station house officer Rajendra Prasad said the woman walked for about a kilometre towards the station and then lost consciousness.
At Buxar, where the train stopped after the lady jumped, the jawan was arrested by the GRP after a passenger alerted the Railway Protection Force (RPF). The accused was immediately taken into custody by the Buxar GRP, he said.
Roy said the jawan was travelling on berth number 31 of B1. “Efforts are on to record the statement of the co-passengers and other army personnel travelling in the coach,” he said. The train was stopped at Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh to record the statement of the passengers.
Some passengers said the lady had told them she was going to Delhi in search of a job.