The wounded woman at Belur State General Hospital on Sunday. Picture by Gopal Senapati
Calcutta, July 21: A TCS employee fell off a moving train while trying to escape a tormentor near Belur station, about 10km from Calcutta.
With four stitches on her forehead, the 25-year-old was too traumatised to exactly recount whether she had jumped or was pushed by the man.
The woman from Asansol, who works for the BPO unit of TCS at Salt Lake Sector V, said a middle-aged man in a shirt and lungi pursued her through the empty ladies’ compartment of the Delhi-Howrah Janata Express as she cried for help.
Around 4.30pm, witnesses at Belur station saw her leaning out of a window, waving and shouting for help. The express train had slowed down while passing the station. Just after that, she was found lying near Platform 1 and was taken to hospital.
Doctors at Belle Vue, where she was shifted in the evening from Belur State General Hospital following the chief minister’s intervention, said she was vomiting blood and would undergo a CT Scan to find out whether there was any internal haemorrhage because of the fall.
“She is conscious and stable but unable to recollect some incidents. We have kept her under observation,” said critical care expert Subrata Maitra.
After recovering from chicken pox for a fortnight at her parents’ house in Asansol, she was returning to Calcutta to join office from Monday. She had boarded the Delhi-Howrah Janata Express from Asansol around 1pm.
“There were a few lady passengers in the compartment but all of them got down at the first station where the train stopped after Asansol. I was then alone inside the compartment,” she told The Telegraph from her hospital bed at Belur State General Hospital.
She was sitting by the window when a man boarded the compartment at Bandel and sat in the seat opposite her. “He was staring at me and then he pulled down the shutters to his window. I was terrified and asked him why he did that,” she said. The man said the breeze was too strong.
“I asked him to take another seat if he was having a problem but he paid no heed. I then shifted to another seat but he followed me there,” she recounted.
The woman got up and walked to the end of the compartment; the man followed her.
“I had left my mobile phone and bag on the seat and he took the phone away. I asked him to give it back but instead of returning it, he tried to touch me.”
She tried to resist.
“I went to the emergency window that doesn’t have any iron rods and leaned out till my waist and cried for help at Belur station,” she said.
Three friends, Sanjay Majhi, Gautam Das and Montu Bagh, were having tea at Platform 1 when they spotted her. “As the train was passing the platform, we saw a woman leaning out of the window frantically, waving and crying for help,” said Majhi.
Just after the train had pulled out of the platform, she was found lying near the tracks and was taken to hospital. “I don’t exactly remember whether I jumped off or whether I was pushed by the man,” she said.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee called up the woman’s elder brother, a teacher at St. Thomas’ School, Kidderpore, in the evening. “She told me the government would bear the full cost of her treatment, whether at a private or a state-run hospital,” he said.
Police said they were trying to find the tormentor.
“We have recovered her bag from the compartment. We have alerted all local police stations from the description given by the lady,” said a senior railway police officer.
The woman had found no security personnel in the ladies’ compartment, although the rulebook says a member of the Government Railway Police (GRP) must be present. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is deployed on certain trains to enhance security.
“There was no security personnel in the ladies’ compartment,” admitted Milan Das, superintendent of railway police, Howrah.
Junior railway minister Adhir Chowdhury said a probe was being ordered. “Although security is a state subject, we are looking into why there was no security personnel,” said Chowdhury. “We are happy that the CM has promised to help the girl but she mustn’t blame the railways for the incident.”