A wholesale vegetable vendor from Nalasopara was stabbed to death on Saturday on board the 3.53am Churchgate-bound local. Panga Andhre was on her way to supply vegetables at the Borivli market when unknown assailants stabbed her in the abdomen thrice with a sharp weapon. The Vasai GRP suspect other vegetable vendors planned the attack out of jealousy.
The incident has raised several questions about the safety and security of Western Railway commuters, especially women.
A resident of a tribal hamlet in Ghaas village on the outskirts of Nalasopara, Andhre, after her mother-in-law's death, managed the vegetable-selling business. She used to take the vegetables to the Virar and Borivli markets after collecting them vegetables from the farmers. Her kin said she was earlier attacked by two unknown people in train at Naigaon station but had refrained from reporting the matter to the police.
A Vasai GRP officer said, "The train reached Nalasopara station at 3.59am. We suspect a man in his 30s entered the luggage compartment and stabbed her after finding her alone. Loud cries of commuters in the neighbouring compartment alerted the motorman and he applied the emergency brake. The assailant fled as the train slowed."
"The woman was alone in the compartment when our constable rushed her to Ravi hospital in Vasai for treatment, but was declared 'dead before admission'. We have conducted the post-mortem will hand over the body to her family members," he added.
Deputy commissioner of police, GRP, Deepak Devraj said, "We have formed three teams to nab the culprit and have registered a case under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. We will interrogate the vegetable vendors and the driver of the tempo from which she supplied vegetables. While her family has denied any personal enmity, we suspect she was killed over professional tussle with other vendors. But we will investigate the case from all angles."
No CCTV near coach to complicate probe
While the CCTV on platform number 2 at Nalasopara doesn't show anything in or around the compartment Andhre had boarded, the one at Virar has grabbed the footage of the activity near the compartment. Expressing disappointment, GRP officers said this will complicate the probe.
Son demands justice, WR offers compensation
Panga Andhre's son Raju said, "It was her regular commute. We were informed by the police after they found my number written on the piece of paper in her purse. I want my mother's killer to be hanged to death." While the WR spokesperson, CNK David, denied declaring any compensation to Andhre's kin, he said, "They can claim compensation if they want and fill out forms for further procedures."