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Jawan, school driver in train molest cuffs

Patna, Jan. 4: A soldier of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles and his friend were booked today on the charge of molesting a 35-year-old woman in an AC coach of a Delhi-bound train yesterday afternoon.

The lady, a resident of Darjeeling, staved off her attackers by jumping on to the railway tracks. She fell unconscious and is being treated at Patna Medical College and Hospital.

The Ara government railway police (GRP) produced jawan Ramesh Kumar and his friend Dinesh Thongial before the Bhojpur chief judicial magistrate, who remanded them in judicial custody for two weeks.

Thongial, said to be a resident of Himachal Pradesh, works as a driver for a premier public school in Patna.

“Investigations suggest that the woman was harassed by the two in the running train,” inspector-general (rail) Binay Kumar said.

Sources said the woman, who slipped in and out of consciousness, told the police there were four tormentors. “They started harassing me soon after the train left Patna junction. When the train reached Ara, they tried to drag me inside the toilet,” a source quoted the woman as saying.

IG Kumar said the police were having trouble in getting the woman’s statement recorded because she was talking in the local dialect. “It is difficult to understand her language.”

The lady, the mother of two sons, leaped from an AC three-tier coach of the Brahmaputra Mail between Ara and Karisath stations, 80km west from here, around 4pm.

Medical examinations have not confirmed rape. A doctor had stated yesterday she was pregnant but hospital superintendent .P. Choudhary said late tonight that tests should no signs that she was expecting.

The GRP has detained four J&K Rifles personnel, who were asked to get off at Allahabad and return to Ara, for interrogation. The police are on the lookout for another soldier who got off at Buxar.

A.D. Upadhyay, a passenger who first reported the incident to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) at Buxar station, said he had stopped the woman from jumping off the coach once, but she ran to another bogie and leaped. “I alighted from the train at Buxar and immediately informed the RPF post,” he told the police.

The woman’s family members, along with three officers from Darjeeling police, are expected to reach Patna tomorrow. “She has been to Delhi earlier and the family had no apprehensions about her travelling alone. She had gone to do odd jobs in Delhi and had returned some months ago,” said a resident of her area. “She was again going to Delhi in search of a job.”