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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Murder mystery on train: Mother and 4 children thrown out, cops baffled

The family is from Bihar’s Motihari and the children’s uncle, father and another person are the suspects.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2017 23:51 IST
Rohit K Singh and Oliver Fredrick
Rohit K Singh and Oliver Fredrick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
People gather near the railway track in Maigalganj where Afrin Khatoon’s body was found on Wednesday.
People gather near the railway track in Maigalganj where Afrin Khatoon’s body was found on Wednesday.(HT Photo)

A train moves around midnight, covering about 50km in less than an hour. A 36-year-old mother and her four minor daughters are pushed off a general coach at different points in between. The woman and a girl die.

And, among the suspects are the children’s uncle and father.

Railway police are grappling with a crime that initially led them to believe three sisters, aged between four and nine, were thrown out of the Amritsar-Saharsa Express on Monday in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur.

On Wednesday, they discovered it was not three sisters, but four as well as their mother who the suspected assailants wanted dead.

Police found the mutilated body of Afreena Khatoon along the tracks at Maigalganj in Lakhimpur Kheri district around 3pm on Wednesday.

Around 3am on Tuesday, her seven-year-old daughter Muniya’s body was found in Sitapur, about 90km north of Lucknow, and adjoining Lakhimpur Kheri district.

As the number of deaths in the case rose to two, police established that a 12-year-old wounded girl, Rabina Khatoon, they found on Tuesday near the tracks at Mehmoodabad in Sitapur district was the eldest daughter of the family from Motihari in Bihar.

They were on their way to Motihari from Amritsar, according to an officer.

A case of murder has been registered against the girl’s uncle, Iqbal, and his friend Izhar. Investigators are trying to establish the motive shrouding the horrific crime and a railway police team is expected to reach Motihari to locate the family and relatives.

Hindustan Times was not able to contact the family for their side of the story.

Sisters Samina and Algun, aged four and nine, survived the fall. All three surviving sisters are admitted to hospital.

Police believe the mother was the first to be pushed out as the train crossed Maigalganj and approached Sitapur. All the children were thrown out after the train crossed Sitapur, police said.

Bihar’s East Champaran police superintendent Upendra Kumar Sharma said: “The girls and their mother lived at Jhhakra village of West Champaran district. Their maternal uncle, Mohammad Imran, is being questioned by West Champaran police.”

Police were looking for the children’s father, Iddu. They are from a village under Phadpur police station of Motihari, Sharma said.

Algun, who suffered multiple fractures in her hand and hip joint, is the only sister able to speak to investigators.

“Algun is not mature enough to provide information. Initially, she blamed her father and later said her maternal uncle threw them out of the moving train,” said Binod Kumar Singh, the railway police inspector general for Lucknow.

The girl also blamed her uncle’s friend. She told police they were four sisters and two brothers. The whereabouts of the boys is not known, an officer said.

Police are trying to ascertain how many of the family were travelling together.

Investigators hope eldest sister Rabina, admitted to the trauma centre at King George’s Medical University in Lucknow, will be able to give crucial information.

“The train was running three hours behind schedule on Monday and we are yet to find out how no one in the general coach noticed when the woman and her daughters were pushed off at different locations,” VK Maurya, station officer of Sitapur GRP.

(With inputs from HT Correspondent in Motihari)

First Published: Oct 25, 2017 20:13 IST