| The Hathidah GRP outpost where the incident was first reported. Telegraph picture |
Armed robbers struck on a running train in the small hours of Sunday killing two passengers on the 15028 Gorakhpur-Hatia Maurya Express between Simaria and Hathidah stations of East Central Railway in Patna rural, around 100km east of the city.
Four other passengers travelling in the general compartment of the Hatia-bound train were also injured in the firing. The injured have been admitted to a Mokama-based government referral hospital.
The incident occurred past midnight around 12.10am. The robbers boarded the train at Simaria halt around 11.55pm. Robbers went on a looting spree as soon as the train left the railway station. They first attacked two women asking them to hand over the ornaments they were wearing.
The entire operation lasted around 10-15 minutes. Simaria and Hathidah are around 15km apart. The train was running around 5 hours late.
Sanjay Yadav, a resident of Bhore in Darbhanga district, protested the loot attempt and reportedly caught hold of one of the robbers. Apprehending trouble, another member of the gang fired at Yadav from close range, killing him on the spot. They also fired at another passenger Mantu Kumar when he offered resistance.
Mantu, a resident of Sahebganj in Muzaffarpur and Yadav, were pushed on the railway track from the running train. The robbers alighted the train near Rampur Dumra and escaped with the booty.
Patna superintendent of rail police Upendra Kumar Sinha said the incident occurred around 12.10am. The victims reported the matter to the Hathidah government railway police outpost, which referred the matter to the Barahiya government railway police station to lodge an FIR.
Sinha said the statements of victims had been recorded and teams led by deputy superintendents of police had been constituted to arrest the culprits. “We have also detained a few suspects. We hope to crack the case soon,” he said. Senior government railway police officials, including additional director-general K.S. Dwivedi and inspector-general Pankaj Darad visited Mokama and inquired about the incident. They held a meeting with railway police officials of Patna and Jamalpur rail districts.
Dwivedi said it was being verified as to why the escort team didn’t challenge the robbers.
“The railway tracks pass through Mokama Tal area (riverine belt) and villages are scattered. The stretch is vulnerable to all types of crimes,” said Krishna Kumar, a resident of Mokama.