Howrah: Nishi, a 25-year-old dentist and her 52-year-old father woke up dazed and confused after what seemed to be almost 4 hours since the arrival of their train at Howrah. On looking around, Nishi realised that their cash and valuables were missing and the train was reportedly empty and parked 9 kms from their destination at Santragachi carshed, reported The Telegraph.
The incident took place on July 24 when Nishi was shaken out of her state of unconsciousness due to panic-stricken phone calls from her cousin. It was then that Nishi realized that her father’s gold chain weighing 50gm and two rings, one of them diamond-studded, all of which amounted to almost 3.5 lakhs and an additional Rs. 8,000 cash was missing.
Nishi got in touch with the cousin she was visiting, Anjal Kedia. She says, “My cousin told me that I answered his call around 9 am and told him that I was in the coach. He went to the Howrah GRP and traced us to the car shed,” Nishi Told The Telegraph. “He also arranged an ambulance for my father as he was still not fully conscious. We were taken to a Howrah hospital and later shifted to Belle Vue. Doctors suspect that the duo fell unconscious due to the consumption of certain ‘substance.’
Nishi’s memory of the entire fiasco is hazy. However, she distinctly remembers a co-passenger who was already aboard, whom she describes as “thin and lean man of medium height.” She claims that the man was trying to be very friendly which raised her suspicion.
She was offered water by the man who had noticed that she was carrying an empty bottle. “We did not take it. I frequently travel by train and never accept anything from strangers,” she said. “Once my bottle fell on the floor, and the man bent down to pick it up before I could. In hindsight, he was trying to gain our confidence.”
Nishi then identified the suspect out the three photographs shown to her by the railway police and the authorities claim that the suspect to be a repeat offender. “We have records of a man named Subhankar Chakrabarty with a history of drugging and robbing passengers on long-distance trains,” an officer said.
He is said to be a part of a self-operating gang that works around Howrah-Chennai, Howrah-Ahmedabad and Howrah-Malda railway section. Their method of operation is by gaining the passenger’s confidence and mixing ‘Laprose’ tablet in their food. Although, Nishi claimed not accepting anything from the stranger.
Nishi Agarwal told The Logical Indian that she proceeded to file an FIR on 26th July but is still to receive any response on the matter at hand, even after having access to every possible detail regarding the criminal.
Nishi has been sharing a thread on twitter seeking immediate action. ”How did the train go to the car-shed with two passengers still aboard? Who is supposed to be held responsible for this and if we’re not safe even on a two-tier train, how can one travel through the railways at all?” she said in a statement.
Despite assigning about five or six railway police personnel who take regular rounds during and after the train terminates, such incidents of “sedation and robbery” are increasing by the day.
The Logical Indian Take
Although the accused has been identified by Nishi personally, he has not been arrested yet. Trains are getting more and more unsafe. If people who travel in Second-tier are not safe from these kinds of incidents, then imagine the kind of troubles that people in Sleeper or third-tier face. Also, after the train reaches its destination, five to six RPF personnel are supposed to check if all the people have deboarded. Yet, these two were not found until after four hours, that too their family found them. How is it possible that a train reached the carshed with two passengers inside? The Logical Indian community demands strict action against railway authorities for their lack of sincerity about passenger safety and against the accused who even after being a repeat offender and after Nishi personally identified him is still free.