'Cops watched as mob raped girl, looted train'
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'Cops watched as mob raped girl, looted train'

In an eyewitness account of the flare-up between residents of Bihar and Assam, an IFS officer has squarely blamed the Bihar Govt.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2003 18:27 IST

In an eyewitness account of the flare-up between residents of Bihar and Assam, an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer has squarely blamed the government and district administrations of Bihar for plunder and violence directed at train passengers and the rape of a woman from Nagaland.

Shashi Malik, an IFS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, was returning from Kolkata on the Guwahati-Dadar Express when he witnessed ghastly scenes in Bihar. He was travelling with his wife and two children on November 12.

"At Bhagalpur station, the train was detained for a long time," he told the <I>Hindustan Times</I>. "Upon inquiry, the staff said that the train was being held because miscreants could rob it at Jamalpur station ahead."

The train left after two hours but was again kept stationed at Akbarnagar station before Jamalpur. Inquiries revealed that it was being held at Akbarnagar because the Brahmaputra Mail and the Mahananda Express had been damaged and Assamese travellers had been subjected to violence and robbery at Jamalpur.

Some time later, Malik said, the train left. At about the same time, a person entered his compartment and asked the passengers to shut the doors and windows from inside. He also advised them against opening the doors at Jamalpur. "Clearly, the Bihar government and the local administration were in the know that the train would be attacked in Jamalpur," he says.

Still, no step was taken to provide security to the train.

"The train stopped just before a tunnel between Jamalpur and Ratanpur railway stations," he said. Soon, a volley of stones started hitting the train. "The windows of the AC compartment cracked," said Malik.

Miscreants then opened the door and about 30-40 of them, armed with rods and staves, barged into the compartment. "Catch the Assamese, kill them all," they shouted. They grabbed passengers from the North-East and started hurling the most shameful abuses.

A passenger who said he was Bengali was still dragged away and beaten. Somehow, he was rescued. Meanwhile, the miscreants plundered the entire compartment. In compartment S-6, 16 girls from Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland were travelling.

"The miscreants beat the girls. Two of them were dragged out of the compartment and stripped on the railway platform. One was raped and staves thrust in her genitals. All boundaries of humanity were crossed. She bled heavily but none came to her rescue," said Malik.

"The mayhem continued uninterrupted for four hours. About six cops walked towards the train. They didn't act and the rape happened in their presence. Somehow, the train reached Jamalpur station where district administration officials and the SP were present. Despite being informed about the episode, they didn't react," alleged Malik.

"Instead, they said they didn't know that the train had been held up 2 km before Jamalpur station and that the passengers were being subjected to such horrors."

First Published: Nov 27, 2003 00:00 IST