The Government Railway Police (GRP) has started cracking down on drug addicts on railway premises between Churchgate and Mumbai Central stations following the attack on a US national in a women’s first class compartment of a local train on Sunday evening.
On Monday, GRP officials detained 28 persons in connection with the case. Officials said the actions of the accused seems to be that of a drug addict and a habitual pick-pocketer, so they are looking at their records to see if they can identify a likely suspect. The police are showing the records and photos of criminals to 24-year-old Michelle Mark, who was slashed and robbed of her iPhone between Marine Lines and Charni Road stations.
The police have no CCTV footage to go by. “We are relying on the sketch prepared on the basis of Mark’s statement,” said Prabhat Kumar, commissioner of police, Mumbai GRP.
As per the victim’s description, the man was 5’8” tall, is dark, was in an orange-maroon T-shirt and brown trousers and had a “hippie” haircut.
In her statement, Mark has said that the attacker entered the women’s compartment at Marine Lines after spotting her alone and snatched her mobile phone. After slashing her with a blade, the accused escaped from Charni Road station.
Most stations between Churchgate and Mumbai Central have entry and exit points that connect directly to the main road, which makes it easy to get away. On Sunday, it was easier still as there was little crowd.
“Each of the six teams made to track the accused includes a GRP officer along with railway crime branch officials. Every team comprises four to five personnel,” said A Bijwe, assistant commissioner of police, GRP, Mumbai Central.
Officials said Mark has been living in Mumbai for 16 months and has a five-year business visa. She works with an NGO as advisor and knows Hindi and Marathi.
Officials have informed the US consulate about the attack on Sunday.