Father-Daughter Sedated & Robbed In 2nd-Tier AC Coach, Railways Fails To Inspect Train Even After Journey Ended
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.
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.
On recalling what might have happened to them, Nishi realised there was a man in the second tier compartment they were travelling in, who tried to be friendly with them. The man even offered them water, which she refused.
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. They think that they might have been drugged while they were sleeping.
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.
Security lapse on part of Railways
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.
When a train journey terminates, five or six Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel are supposed to check all the compartments to make sure that every passenger has deboarded. Yet, Nishi and her father were not found until after four hours, that too by family.
Recently, RPF filed a request with the Railway Ministry asking them to grant them more powers, including filing FIRs and investigating cases. RPF are only entrusted with criminal cases pertaining to railway property. Government Railway Police (GRP), under state governments, register FIRs and investigate cases.
According to data accessed by The Indian Express, crime in trains has almost doubled in 2017 from the previous year. Robbery cases have increased by 70%. While a total of 71,055 crimes were reported across the country in 2017, compared to 39,355 the year before, 20,777 crimes were reported till March in 2018. This is a disturbing trend. This clearly shows lapse in security arrangements made by railways.
The Logical Indian demands strict action against the accused and also the railway authorities. With the number of crimes increasing exponentially, it is important that railways ensure passenger safety. 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. How is it possible that a train reached the carshed with two passengers inside? Who would be answerable, the RPF or GRP?