|Mishra. Telegraph picture
Raipur, June 27: An American woman travelling on the Geetanjali Express was startled out of sleep last night by a police officer allegedly trying to kiss her.
Bridget Hanna was dozing in an AC-II coach of the Howrah-Mumbai train when Umendra Mishra, occupying the berth opposite her, first targeted her past midnight. A while later, he allegedly had a go again.
Bridget is from Massachusetts and has been working with a Bhopal NGO for a year. The 26-year-old had gone to Tatanagar in connection with her work with Bhopal gas disaster victims and was returning with a companion.
Mishra is an assistant sub-inspector with the crime branch of Bilaspur police. He was arrested today by the Government Railway Police on a complaint by Bridget but later given bail.
Deputy inspector-general Rawan Deo told reporters Mishra had introduced himself to Bridget and complimented her looks several times before retiring for the night. He was occupying berth 60 and Bridget berth 57.
“Somewhere between Tatanagar and Bilaspur, Umendra touched my lips and tried to kiss me when I was asleep,” Bridget said in her complaint.
Stunned, Bridget quietly ticked him off. Mishra, allegedly drunk, then apologised profusely and went back to sleep. But 30 minutes later, he was back to his tricks again.
This time, Bridget raised a ruckus, waking up sleeping passengers who grabbed Mishra and gave him a good thrashing. When the train reached Bilaspur around 1 am, they turned him over to the Railway Protection Force.
Mishra, who was travelling without a ticket, tried to flee but passengers and securitymen foiled his attempts.
Bridget carried on in the same train and lodged a complaint around 3 pm after the train reached Raipur. An offence under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 137 of the Railway Act has been registered against Mishra, Deo said.
This afternoon, the RPF ferried Mishra to Raipur and handed over the case to railway police.
Mishra was arrested and produced before a court, which remanded him in judicial custody. Later in the evening, he was given bail.
Deo said the police were trying to verify if Mishra had been drunk during the incident. “He was sent for medical tests. The report is awaited.”
Mishra has claimed that he was returning from Tatanagar after official work.