जमुई Jamui (JMU): Dacoits swooped down on Chhapra-Tata Express, looting cash, jewelry and mobiles worth over Rs 10 lakh from passengers in four sleeper coaches after forcibly stopping the train by taking the cabin man hostage near Dadnagar Halt here. On Jamui-Jhajha-Jasidih section under Danapur division of East Central Railway (ECR) around Sunday midnight, more than a hundred passengers of three sleeper coaches of Dn 18182 Chhapra-Tata Nagar Express were robbed of their cash, jewellery, mobile sets, wrist watches and other valuables worth Rs 1 lakh by criminals at gunpoint.
The incident comes within 48 hours of a Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) jawan, Pankaj Kumar Singh of Sasaram, being gunned down and another jawan Ram Sarup Singh being injured in Dn Farakka Express by criminals between Jamalpur and Dasarathpur railway stations on Jamalpur-Kiul section of the ECR when the jawans of an escort party questioned their identity and asked them to show their train tickets in the wee hours of January 2.
Besides, on December 27, armed dacoits had looted cash, ornaments etc worth Rs 10 lakh from the passengers of Patna-Hatia Pataliputra Express near Lahaban halt in between Jhajha and Jasidih railway stations. It is the second incident of a train being looted in the district in the last 10 days.
Angry passengers later staged protest alleging that Government Railway Police (GRP) escort team did not take action while dacoits were looting passengers.
Superintendent Railway Police (SRP), Jamalpur, Umashankar Prasad confirmed the Sunday night incident and said the “Dacoits numbering 20-25 took the Dadnagar halt cabinman Mahendra Narayan Singh, between Gidhaur and Jhajha railway stations hostage late last night on gun point and forced him to light red signal following which DN Chapra-Tata Express stopped,” station house officer (SHO) of Jhajha GRP Sujit Kumar told.
The dacoits then boarded the sleeper bogies and started looting the passengers. They silenced the passengers at gunpoint, asking them not to raise alarm. The dacoits then fanned in four sleeper coaches from S1 to S4 and went on the looting spree around midnight, he said. Those who dared to protest were beaten up.
It is alleged a GRP escort party which was travelling in the train remained confined to a coach. Kiul-Jasidih section under Danapur division of East Central Railway (ECR) is a Maoist stronghold.
After looting, the dacoits fled firing in the air. The GRP personnel also fired but could not lay hands on any of the dacoits, officials said.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rail, Arun Kumar Dubey reached Jhajha after getting information about the incident and conducted raids. A case has been registered with Jhajha police station. On reaching Jhajha, passengers staged protest against GRP. The SRP said the armed escort party comprising eight cops resorted to firing when the dacoits were looting the passengers, which forced them to flee midway their operation taking advantage of the darkness and foggy weather. He said 12 rounds were fired in the air by the escort party.
He claimed had the escort party not been there, passengers of the entire train having 10 sleeper bogies besides three AC coaches and general compartments would have been looted. The SRP, however, denied involvement of Maoists in the train dacoity. Raids were on to nab the criminals involved,
On December 27, armed dacoits had looted passengers of Patna-Hatia Patliputra Express near Lahanban halt in Jamui district.