KOCHI: In an incident that brought back memories of the 2011 Soumya case, a 31-year-old woman was attacked by an unknown assailant on a running train on Wednesday.
The incident happened on board the Punalur passenger train at around 10 am near Olipuram near Kanjiramittam in Ernakulam district. The woman who sustained injuries to her head has been admitted to Medical Trust hospital in Kochi.
According to railway police, the woman, who commutes to work in Chengannur by train every day, boarded the train at Mulanthuruthy in Ernakulam. "The compartment which she boarded had only another passenger -- a man. He closed the doors of the compartment before threatening her with a screwdriver," said the railway police.
As per the initial investigation, it seems the man intended to rob the victim. "The assailant forced the victim to hand over her gold chain and other ornaments before trying to grab her. The victim managed to dodge him and ran towards the toilet of the compartment. She then tried to escape from her attacker by opening the door and jumping out. However, the train was on the move and she hung from the handrail before falling," said the cops.
The woman sustained head injuries. "No fractures have been reported. More details regarding her health will be available after a thorough check-up," said the railway police who along with the Railway Protection Force has launched an investigation into the incident.
A search is on for the assailant who has been identified as 35-year-old Babukuttan, a native of Nooranadu in Alappuzha. According to the RPF, the victim identified the culprit from among the photographs of suspected miscreants. "The culprit is a native of Nooranadu in Alappuzha and has several theft cases registered against him," said the RPF officer. Cases have been registered against him for robbing the offering boxes of three temples and also for attacking a woman who lives near his house.
It was similar to the case involving 23-year-old Soumya, a salesgirl, ten years ago. She was returning home by the Ernakulam-Shoranur passenger train on February 1, 2011, when Govindachamy, a native of Virudhachalam in Cuddalore, went to the ladies’ compartment where she was, robbed and attacked her. Soumya’s body was found in the forests near Vallathol railway station. Govindachamy is serving a jail sentence.
According to the RPF, after the Soumya incident, various safety measures had been introduced in trains to ensure the protection of lone women travellers. "Women travellers had been advised to change compartments if the ones they are travelling in are vacant. Provisions had been made in this regard and reservation rules are not to be adhered to strictly in such cases," said an RPF officer.