Just when did inter-state trains get as dangerous as this?
At least 12 armed men attacked a family of six, killing one man and throwing his body out of the Veraval Express on Thursday night, after sexually assaulting three women in the family. All this after the family asked the Lonavala station railway police for protection – and were told to continue their journey on the same train.
The family was attacked near Karjat (60 km from Mumbai), when they tried to stop the accused from sexually assaulting three women in the group. Mala (25), one of the women sexually assaulted, is three months pregnant. Dilip Salata (30), her husband, was stabbed several times with a sword and a knife before his body was thrown off the train.
The unidentified attackers escaped at Kalyan.
“We’ve formed three teams and are investigating the incident. We’ll arrest the accused soon,” said Kauser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police, government railway police, Mumbai. “I’ve also told my Pune counterpart about the inaction of his men at Lonavala. Had they taken action, the incident could’ve been prevented.”
According to Sejal Salata (21), Dilip’s sister-in-law, the family travels to different cities during the festive season to sell handicrafts. “We’re from Baroda, Gujarat, and were returning from Pune, where we’d gone to sell our work at religious fairs in nearby villages,” Sejal said.
The family had taken the train from Pune on Thursday evening and was in the general compartment. “About two hours after we boarded, six men came and began sexually assaulting Mala, me and a cousin of mine,” she recalled.
When the men were stopped by Dilip and two other men of the family, they threatened to kill them once they reached Karjat, where they said more men would join them.
At Lonavala, the family got off the train and approached the railway police but got no help. “The policemen told us to continue our journey or we wouldn’t get another train till the next day. So we carried on,” Sejal said.
At Karjat, the six men were joined by about six more armed with swords and knives. The family locked themselves in toilets but the attackers broke the door of one, stabbed Dilip and threw his body out of the train.
The Kalyan railway police have registered a case of murder, outraging the modesty of a woman, and rioting.