| Dipali at the hospital. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, Aug. 2: A gang of dacoits hit the Howrah-bound Saraighat Express early today and robbed passengers of three compartments.
The robbers badly injured a woman travelling from Maligaon, Assam, almost cutting off her hand at the wrist when she tried to hold on to her gold bangle.
Jayanta Kumar Baishya, whose wife, Dipali suffered the injury, said the dacoits boarded the train about 2 am when it had stopped at a signal near Magurjan station, in Bihar, in the Katihar division of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR). Then they spread out to three reserved sleeper-class compartments, S 4, S 6 and S 10.
“We were in S-10 on our way to Nagpur to admit our son, Navjyot, in an engineering college there. They wanted the gold bangle I was wearing and a bag that I was clutching on to and so they tried to cut off my hand,” said Dipali, lying at the railway hospital here.
The dacoits hit out at other passengers, too, and took jewellery, cellphones, wristwatches and cash, Jayanta said.
Dipali was administered first aid at Kishenganj station and when the train reached Malda at 5.30 am, she was admitted to the railway hospital and later shifted to the ICU.
Jayanta said the passengers vented their anger on the railway staff at Kishenganj station “because there were no Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel patrolling the reserved compartments”.
A case was finally registered with the Government Railway Police (GRP) in Malda.
“There were indeed no RPF personnel in the train and our men in Malda did whatever they could to help the victims,” said superintendent of the GRP at Siliguri Mahindra Singh Punia.
The two travelling ticket examiners, Sanjib Das and Ibrul Haq, were roughed up by the passengers at Kishenganj and one of them later lodged a complaint with GRP here.
Ashok Kumar Mondol, the additional divisional railway manager of the Eastern Railway posted at Malda, said the passengers became angry as no complaint register was available on board the train.