The brutal assault on a young train passenger near Vallathol Nagar railway station early on Wednesday morning has reinforced the vulnerability of train commuters to violent crimes and sexual harassment.

That the incident took place close to the spot where Soumya, a young woman was assaulted, raped and murdered a couple of years ago by a hardcore criminal who masqueraded as a beggar increases the gravity of Wednesday’s crime.

DySP of Government Railway Police, Palakkad, K.L. Radhakrishnan said the Cheruthuruthy Police, the GRP and RPF were jointly probing Wednesday’s case. “In such cases, co-passengers sound an alarm or stop the train by pulling the train. No one dialled the police or Rail Alert number and reported the incident.”

By the time the police was informed, the train had passed Kannur and night passengers in the general compartment had alighted at different stops. The train’s guard sitting in his cabin nearby, was unaware of any commotion. The address and details of the culprits could have been tracked had they travelled in reserved coaches, he said. Another senior GRP officer said such incidents could be prevented if co-passengers in unison come to the aid of passengers in distress.

More In: Kochi