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Teenager suspect for slash spree

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JOY SENGUPTA   |   Published 22.04.12, 12:00 AM

Patna, April 21: Police have detained a teenager suspecting him to be the “Blade Man”, who has so far struck seven times and sparked panic across Patna City for over a week.

The suspect, aged around 18 and a resident of the Khajekala area, was caught during a routine check by officers of the Chowk police station late last evening. He is at present detained at a police station, whose name The Telegraph is not disclosing.

The Telegraph is also withholding the name of the youth, who is believed to be a BCom student and takes tuition at a private coaching centre in the state capital, for security reasons, and also because he is yet to be formally arrested.

On Thursday, the arrest of a rag-picker on the suspicion of being the “Blade Man” had created a law and order problem as a mob attacked the police station where he was kept. Their target was to get hold of the rag-picker and lynch him.

Some senior police officers today appeared confident that the youth caught yesterday was the one who has so far attacked seven persons, mostly girls. An officer said the victims have agreed to identify the accused, if he was made to stand in front of them.

“The police caught the youth and found two blades, among other things, on him. A picture of a girl, believed to be his girlfriend, and an identity card of Guru Govind Singh College were also recovered from him. His face resembles the sketch that the police had made from the victims’ accounts,” Patna (city) superintendent of police (SP) Kim told The Telegraph today.

“The victims have also said the youth looks like the assailant who had attacked them. All of them portrayed the assailant as a man who wore a cap with the hood turned back. They said the assailant had run away from the spot immediately after slashing them with a blade. The police are questioning the youth, who has not yet confessed anything,” the SP added.

The police, however, could not confirm whether more people were involved in the crime or not.

“We are probing into all aspects of the incident. The youth’s statement will be very important. We believe he is pursuing BCom at Guru Govind Singh College and also attends classes in a city-based coaching institute. The police are verifying the facts and have contacted those associated with the institute,” Kim said.

“The youth’s appearance is a bit strange. His behaviour, also, cannot be described as very normal. The police have contacted his family. His brother said he had got no clue about his activities,” the officer added.

The “Blade Man” has sparked panic across Patna City ever since the attacks started on Tuesday. At least five children and a girl were targeted by the assailant earlier. The seventh victim of the slasher was Aakanksha Kumari, an 18-year-old student of Guru Govind Singh College. She was attacked in the Dundi Bazaar area around 1pm yesterday.

Incidentally, the identity card that was found on the youth was of the same institute, Guru Govind Singh College, where Aakanksha studies.

Today, Patna City remained quiet with no incident of slashing being reported from any part. Though there was a morning alarm that another girl had been attacked, it turned out to be a rumour.

Most of the “Blade Man” strikes had occurred in areas under the jurisdiction of Khajekala and Chowk police stations.

The victims were mostly girls aged between six and 18 years. The attacks have turned out to be a terror among the people with many stopping their children from going to school.

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