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Rajdhani passengers say Maoists did not harm anyone

Posted by Admin on October 30, 2009

A much relieved lot after their five-hour ordeal which to many seemed endless, passengers on board the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express reached New Delhi on Wednesday evening to be happily reunited with their families at the station.

The train from Bhubaneswar was detained for several hours from 2-35 p.m. on Tuesday by supporters of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee at Banstala station near Jhargram in West Bengal.

Most passengers looked relieved and happy to head home instead of looking traumatised and shocked after the ordeal. Many said that after the initial shock and uncertainty they were surprisingly treated well by the Maoists.

Apart from a passenger whose one eye was damaged by a flying glass splinter, none of the other passengers sustained any major injury.

No cop present

A young pantry car worker, Dinesh Kumar, said he had just finished making a bundle of leftover food when the train suddenly braked followed by some stone-throwing. “Then the Maoists broke the glass windows and came in asking us to get down with our luggage. After standing out for two hours they again asked us to go and sit inside till 7-30 p.m. after which the security forces arrived. All the snacks including samosas, patties and sandwiches were taken away by them.”

Fifty-six-year-old Jay Mohanty said: “There were no policemen present right from 2-30 p.m. to 7-30 p.m. and we were all on our own. The Maoists very clearly told us that they had no intentions of hurting any passengers and simply instructed us to get out of the train so that they could set it on fire. But the fear-stricken passengers closed all doors, leading them to barge in with arms through the smashed windows.”

“However, on entering they did not try to hurt anyone and said there was no need for us to worry about our lives. They even helped us take our luggage out and also gave us food and water. We were only scared for the first half-hour. My daughter Maheshwari and I will never forget the way they treated us throughout the ordeal. We could have been beaten up or killed and tortured but no such thing happened,” he added.

Another passenger, Komal Sharma, an employee of the Chandigarh Education Department, said: “I had gone to Puri to attend a meeting and had a connecting Shatabdi train from Delhi to Chandigarh at 5-15 p.m. which I missed because of all this. Now I have no clue how to get to Chandigarh in the night as there is no one here to help the harried passengers.”

Another relative waiting at the platform, Prakash Mehra, said: “My young nephew was coming to Delhi to attend an NTPC training programme along with his two friends. We were in constant touch with them and thankfully none of them was hurt.” TT

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