PATNA: The robbery in several AC coaches of 18622 Down Patna-Hatia Pataliputra Express by a group of armed men and women in Bihar's Jamui district on Tuesday evening is believed to have been the handiwork of Maoists.
The train was forced to stop by chain pulling at Kundar Halt at about 7.30 PM and nearly 30 men and women armed with pistols, axes, machetes and sticks entered the AC coaches, said sources. The criminals robbed the passengers travelling in several AC coaches of their valuables worth lakhs of rupees. They also beat up several passengers.
The AC coaches A1 and A2 bore the brunt of the robbery, said officials of Government Railway Police (GRP). The robbers held the train hostage for about 40 minutes at Kunder Halt.
The train reached Jaumi station at about 8:25 PM and left after a 10-minute stop. Jitendra Singh, a passenger who was travelling with his family in an AC coach, was one of the passengers who the criminals attacked during the robbery. "They took away cash and other valuables from us. There was an atmosphere of terror in the train as the robbery continued for nearly half an hour. Several passengers were beaten up by the armed criminals," he said.
"An FIR has been registered as per the statement given by the TTE travelling in the coaches, Ankit Kumar. Investigations are in progress," said Bhagwan Singh, a GRP official at Jamui. He declined to elaborate on the matter.
The presence of women among the criminals who carried out the robbery has led railway officials to believe that it could be the handiwork of the Maoists active in Jamui district. "Although the Maoists normally do not engage in robbery, this incident has raised suspicions about some cadres of the leftwing outfits having been the perpetrators. A detailed probe would reveal more," said a senior RPSF official.
The Maoists had mounted a daring noontime assault on the Dhanbad-Patna Intercity Express in Jamui in June 2013 and shot dead three people - two cops and a passenger - while six others were left injured.