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Shutdown in Kerala town to mourn death of woman thrown off train

Monday February 07, 2011 07:04:39 PM, IANS

Shornur (Kerala): A complete shutdown was observed in this Kerala town Monday to mourn the death of a young woman who was pushed out of a moving train by a thief only to be raped on the railway tracks by him as she lay severely injured.

Soumya, 23, the sole breadwinner of her family, was given a tearful farewell at the public crematorium near here as people vented their anger against railway officials for not providing security on trains.

A huge crowd of people from all walks of life turned up at the crematorium to witness the last rites of Soumya.

Soumya died Sunday evening after battling for life since Tuesday last when she was thrown out from a moving train by a proclaimed thief, who first smashed her head with a stone and then raped her.

She was on her way home from work as a marriage proposal for her was being discussed.

Soumya was working in an office at Kochi and was returning by the Ernakulam-Shornur passenger train when the thief accosted her in the women's compartment which did not have any police guard.

Later, she was found in an unconscious state near the track at Vettikkattiri near Cheruthururthy at 9.30 p.m., after the guard informed the Railway Police that he had seen someone fall off the moving train.

Even though she was given immediate medical attention, Soumya was on ventilator with a fractured skull and bleeding in the brain. She died Sunday evening.

Across the state, angry youth wing activists of various parties turned their ire against the railway establishment and blocked trains to protest lack of security on trains.

In the Kerala assembly, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said there were not adequate Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel on trains.

"There are 238 trains that operate in Kerala and just 78 trains have RPF officials. We have already requested the central government for more security officials," said Balakrishnan.

Meanwhile, the molester Govinda Chamiya, a resident of Tamil Nadu who was arrested the next day, was Monday remanded to four days' police custody.

The police are investigating if there were any more people along with the accused.

Local Lok Sabha member M.B. Rajesh blamed the railways for the incident.

"The railways are the prime culprits for what has happened to Soumya," Rajesh told reporters near here.

Meanwhile, a high-level meeting of railway officials held in Thiruvananthapuram decided that security on trains was the responsibility of the state government.

"The RPF is concerned with the protection of railway property. Maybe the guard and the railway personnel on that train did not do their duty, and to this effect we will conduct an investigation," said top railway official R.D. Sharma.







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