A group of ten dacoits, who were wearing shorts and had oiled their bodies, looted at least ten passengers of the Bangalore-Jaipur Express at Jinti Road junction near Daund in the wee hours of Monday. Most of the passengers who were looted were women.
The dacoits allegedly molested a medical student before looting her. In fact, she was taken to the toilet of the coach and made to strip. However, they fled when she started screaming for help.
Jinti Road junction is about two hours from Pune.
According to the passengers, they were looted of gold jewellery and mobile phones worth Rs2 lakh, besides being robbed of their luggage.
Passengers made the train halt for nearly an hour and a half at their next stop — Pune railway station — not allowing the onward journey until a police complaint was filed.
The incident took place around 4.20am when the train halted at the single-track Jinti Raod junction for nearly half an hour to allow other trains to pass.
Passengers of coaches number S4, S5 and the last compartment, which is reserved for women, said they woke up to a group of 'half-naked men' tugging at their ear-rings and gold chains.
Rajasthan-based clothes merchant Tejas Chaudhari, 51, who had boarded the train at Bangalore to go to Jaipur, said he was fast asleep when he heard his sister-in-law screaming. "I woke up and found that her ear was bleeding, somebody had forcefully removed her gold ear-ring. We couldn't see any robber. When we went to the next compartment, we found that women were looted there as well. Then I saw the dacoits getting off the train," he narrated.
A 21-year-old second-year MBBS student was enroute to Jaipur. From there, she was to board a train to Kota. "I was sleeping on the last berth of the compartment. Suddenly, I could sense someone standing in front of me. I saw one of the dacoits holding a knife to the neck of my sister who was sleeping opposite me. When I yelled at him, he told me to hand over all my valuables. When I resisted, he grabbed it and put the knife to my neck forcing me to come towards the toilet. I didn't scream as he threatened to slash my neck. In the toilet he forced me to strip and I started screaming and that's when he ran away," recalled the student.
"When we approached the train guard, he claimed such incidents took place regularly and people should take care of their belongings. When we approached the police at Jinti junction, they didn't take cognisance. Later, when the train halted at Pune, we approached the police again, but they said they couldn't register our complaint," she added.
Around 6.20am, the train reached Pune railway station, the passengers started a protest.
Abhay Parmar, inspector in-charge of GRP, said, "Dacoits looted gold ornaments and luggage of 10 passengers. The robbed valuables are estimated to be worth Rs2 lakh. The passengers refused to proceed further and demanded arrest of the dacoits. For one and a half hour, we re-assured passengers and later a team of three policemen, including a lady constable, was sent to the train to record the statements of passengers. We will be registering a case and later it will be transferred to Daund police station."
However, he claimed that no woman passenger complained of molestation.
Asked how the dacoits managed to enter the train, Parmar said, "One of the dacoits must have put his hand inside an open window and opened the compartment door. Passengers said the robbers wore shorts, were of dark complexion and had oiled their bodies. They carried knives."