The Telegraph
Saturday , March 22 , 2014
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Rail staff refuse rescue plea
- Lady pushed off train, niece faces ordeal

Raiganj, March 21: The guard and security personnel on the Calcutta-Radhikapur Express were accused of refusing to look for a 60-year-old woman who had been pushed off the running train by a snatcher near Samsi station in Malda district this morning.

The woman’s niece, who was also on the train, said she had pulled the chain twice and the train stopped. But the guard and the Railway Protection Force personnel misbehaved with her and refused to search for her aunt along the tracks, alleged the 25-year-old.

Shikha Mitra was spotted lying along the tracks by villagers around 5.30am, two hours after she had been pushed off the train. She was admitted to a health centre in Chanchal and later shifted to a private nursing home in Raiganj.

Angana Dey, the niece of the woman, said she had received no help from the co-passengers and raised doubts about the safety of women travellers.

Mitra and Dey had boarded a non-AC three-tier sleeper compartment, S6, from Calcutta at 7.30pm yesterday. They had berths 1 and 4 that were close to the doors of one end of the coach. Mitra is a resident of Jadavpur in Calcutta, while Dey is from Raiganj. The duo were bound for Raiganj.

Angana Dey

Dey said she had raised the alarm the moment she realised that someone had snatched her bag. “It was around 3.30am and the train was just pulling out of Malda station. My aunt woke up and caught the youth. Both of them were trying to get hold of the bag. Suddenly, the youth pushed my aunt out of the door and jumped off with the bag.”

Dey immediately pulled the chain and raised the alarm. “None of our fellow passengers came forward to help. I ran to the door and tried to peer out. The train gradually came to a halt. It was pitch dark outside and I was scared to get off the train. I called out for my aunt but there was no response,” she said.

In a few minutes, the guard and some policemen arrived. “I told the guard that my aunt had been pushed off the train. The guard spoke to me in rough way and told me that he had seen no one fall off and left. After five minutes, the train began moving and I pulled the chain again. The train stopped and the guard returned. This time he was very rude. He told me I was making things up and if I pulled the chain again, he would take legal action against me,” she said.

By then, many of the passengers had woken up. No one came to Dey’s help. Her mobile phone, PAN card and Rs 3,000 in cash were in the bag that was stolen. Dey requested the passengers to give her a phone so that she could call up her home.

“There was no response. I went to the next compartment and borrowed a phone and called up home. My uncle Biswajit Dey who is a businessman in Raiganj managed to use his contacts and located my aunt in the Chanchal subdivisional hospital.”

Dey went on: “I am sorry to say there is no safety for women passengers, especially if the guard and police behave in the manner they did.”

Biswajit said around 7am, he was told by the GRP that one woman found near the tracks in Samsi had been admitted to the Chanchal subdivisional hospital. “I went to Chanchal and admitted her to the nursing home around 11am. I am going to write to the highest authorities in the railways to take strict action against the guard and the RPF personnel on board the train.”

Sources in the nursing home said Mitra had suffered multiple injuries to her face, head, chest and knees.

“X-rays and CT-scan reports are awaited. The woman is not able to speak,” said a source.

Mitra is a homemaker and her husband had retired as an engineer with the Eastern Railway.

Till late in the evening, no complaint was filed on the alleged refusal by the guard and the security personnel to rescue Mitra.

A source in the Raiganj GRP said one of a sub-inspector with the force was on board the train. “He was not on duty and was in the same compartment. He had called up the Samsi GRP to inform them about the incident,” the source said.

The divisional railway manager of the Northeast Frontier Railways’ Katihar division, Arun Kumar Sharma, said a probe would be conducted into the incident. “I have heard that a woman was pushed off a train this morning. I have asked the station manager of Samsi to submit a report and after that, we will conduct a departmental inquiry.”