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Bid to abduct woman from platform

Police patrol Sodepur railway station on Thursday evening. Picture by Pranab Kr Biswas

Sodepur: A married couple having a row on the platform of Sodepur railway station ended up fighting off a gang of goons who allegedly demanded proof of their relationship before attempting to drag the woman away to a desolate place.

The incident occurred around 10pm on Wednesday at one end of platform number four of the station, which is usually almost empty at that time of the night. Husband and wife had been arguing over a personal matter when the youths approached them on the pretext of intervening, according to a complaint received by Government Railway Police.

When the man asked the youths to leave him and his wife alone, they allegedly asked him to prove he was her husband. They assaulted him when he protested, the railway police said quoting the complaint.

The youths then targeted the woman, allegedly grabbing her arm to pull her away from the end of the platform. The husband tried to free his wife even as both of them screamed for help, but they were outnumbered.

The complaint mentions that some people standing on the occupied platforms of the station saw what was happening, but nobody came to their rescue. The tormentors gave up trying to drag the woman away possibly because they feared someone had informed the police, an officer said.

Two civic volunteers reached the platform after the group disappeared into the darkness. They took the couple to the stationmaster, who advised them to lodge a complaint with the railway police. Husband and wife took a train to Dum Dum to report the incident at the railway police post there.

The complaint mentions "outrage of modesty" among the charges against the youths, who hadn't been identified till late on Thursday.

The couple from Jagaddal, around 27km from Sodepur, have been admittedly battling problems in their relationship lately.

Based on what they told the railway police, their row had started during a visit to the house of the woman's sister in Nagerbazar. The woman had stormed off during the argument and boarded a local train at Dum Dum to return to Jagaddal.

She changed her mind midway, got off at platform number 1 of Sodepur station and walked over to a corner of platform number 4. "This was around 9.15pm. The husband, who works in a restaurant, went looking for his wife and found her there after around 45 minutes," an officer at the railway police post said.

Witnesses to the couple's public row alleged that they were screaming and occasionally pushing each other.

The private discord that had turned into a public spectacle soon attracted the unwanted attention of the youths.

Although the husband has not mentioned it in his complaint, a couple of them appeared to be inebriated, witnesses told the investigation team.

The team had visited Sodepur railway station on Thursday to speak to vendors who have stalls between platform numbers 2 and 3. They took photographs of the spot on platform number 4 where the incident occurred.

"We have some leads, but it is too early to speak about them," an officer said.

Many commuters who regularly board trains or alight at Sodepur railway station appeared surprised that such an incident could occur there. Sodepur is among the busier railway stations on the Sealdah-Barrackpore suburban line.

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