The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Molestation in full view of passengers

Patna/Jabalpur, Nov. 14: A 25-year-old Mizo woman travelling on the Guwahati-Dadar Express was stripped and molested in full view of the passengers on Wednesday, forcing a reluctant Bihar police to agree to open the first investigation into the train attacks that have been taking place on people from the Northeast.

After a November 9 incident in which candidates from Bihar were allegedly prevented from sitting for a railway recruitment examination held in Guwahati, trains originating from the Northeast have been attacked at various places in Bihar in retaliation.

“I cried but none of the fellow passengers came to my rescue. My brothers who tried to resist were beaten black and blue,” said the Mizo woman, who was mistaken by the attackers to be an Assamese.

“They stripped me and wanted to push me inside a toilet. When they failed, they began to molest me,” the sobbing woman told police in Patna last night.

The sister of a college lecturer in Mizoram, she said when the train stopped at Munger, about 12 men entered the compartment and asked if she and her brothers were from Assam.

“We pleaded that we were residents of Mizoram. But our plea was ignored and our belongings were looted — money, clothes and bags. I was dragged from my seat by some men who grabbed me by my hair. I was taken near the toilet,” she said.

According to other witnesses, the women bore the brunt of the attack. Even the old were not spared. After the victim, and the other passengers, reached Patna, they were admitted to Patna Medical College and Hospital and then put up in the circuit house.

While the woman’s statement became the basis of cases in Jamalpur — also in Bihar — and Patna, other victims got off the train at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh and filed an FIR.

Passengers who reached Jabalpur — 25 hours after the incident — alleged that the railway authorities in Patna and Allahabad had refused to register the case. They said the attack continued for four hours, starting in late afternoon, with passengers travelling in AC 3-tier and 2-tier and sleeper coaches specifically targeted.

The passengers told Jabalpur police that in Bihar the railway authorities had told them to shut the doors and windows and “get out of Bihar as quickly as possible”. Since November 10, several trains from Assam passing through Bihar have come under attack at Kaithar, Jamalpur and Bhagalpur.

But this is the first time that Bihar police have recorded the statement of a victim and started a probe.

The director-general of police of Assam contacted his Bihar counterpart, seeking details of the incident.

“I express my regret for the unfortunate incident and I have informed my counterpart in Assam that full security arrangements have been made for trains which will pass through Bihar,” the Bihar director-general of police, D.P. Ojha, said.

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