The police have arrested two railway contract employees in connection with the crime

In yet another incident that raises the issue of women’s safety in the city, a 40-year-old woman, who fell asleep inside a suburban train, was allegedly raped by two railway contract staff at the Tambaram Railway Yard, on Saturday night. The Government Railway Police (GRP) nabbed the accused soon after the incident.

Police said that the woman is a vegetable vendor, and a resident of the city’s outskirts. She had gone to meet her son, who is in prison, and had boarded a train from Pallavaram on Saturday night. “She lay down on the floor and slept. She did not realise that she had missed her stop and that the train had reached Chengalpattu and returned to Tambaram Railway Station, and then to the yard,” said B. Padmakumari, GRP Inspector, Egmore, who is in-charge of Tambaram too.

At this juncture, two contract staff Suresh (31) and Abdul Ajiz (30), who entered the yard spotted her asleep in the train. The two allegedly sexually assaulted her. “They threatened her of dire consequences if she complained to the police and to ensure she did not reveal anything to the Railway Protection Force (RPF), they accompanied her outside,” said an RPF source.

An RPF constable did intercept the trio, but Suresh and Abdul Ajiz told him that the woman had been found sleeping on the train and had missed her station. The woman later went and complained to the GRP police about the incident.

Inspector Padmakumari and Sub Inspector Mariappan started an investigation and checked the railway staff’s attendance details and found that Suresh and Abdul Ajiz had punched in around the time when the incident took place. “The identification details provided by the woman matched the version given by the RPF constable who had intercepted the three. So we nabbed them and booked them for rape and threatening the woman,” she said.

The police will be remanding them in judicial custody. “Usually when the train arrives at the destination station, the compartment lights should be switched off by the railway staff. The RPF and GRP personnel should check if there is anyone sleeping inside the train or if anyone has left anything behind,” said a railway official. Many times, people who are drunk fall asleep on the train. “It is hard to wake up people who are drunk. They often sleep inside the train till it reaches the yard,” he added.

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