Miscreants stop the Chennai Express train by pulling chain and snatch gold chains, electronic goods and other valuables through windows

Miscreants struck the Chennai Express in the early hours of Tuesday after pulling the chain of the Secunderabad-bound train at Guntur and snatched gold chains of passengers and electronic goods through the windows.

The string of snatching incidents in the dead of night was committed by offenders who knew that there were no policemen in the train. Techie P. Venkata Sukumar, sleeping on the lower berth number nine in S-11, said he woke up when he felt a sharp pain on his neck as someone yanked off his gold chain.

Caught by surprise he found the train had stopped and was told the area was Tummalacheruvu after Piduguralla in Guntur. Nadikudi was the next railway station.

Pitch dark

It was pitch dark but he could make out that offenders were targeting passengers sleeping on the lower berths on the window side. While one offender was kneeling, the other scaled over him and snatched whatever he could lay his hands on.

Threatened with knife

He soon ran out and tried to catch them. “While one fled, the other ran into bushes. When I chased him he whipped out a knife which I could see when I switched on my mobile phone’s light,” Sukumar said. The second offender too ran away when his friend shouted for police help.

Later, the two passengers realised the gang had taken away gold chains, an ipad, camera and cash from six other passengers of different coaches.

“We’re told that one of the miscreants travelled in the train and apparently identified vulnerable passengers,” an official of the Secunderabad Railway Police said.

Associates alerted

After the train crossed Piduguralla, the accused pulled the chain around 2.20 a.m. He hurried out as the train stopped and alerted his associates lying in wait there. Durga Laxmi of Warangal, Gowry Harika of Nellore, B. Sreevani of Miyapur, Anu Shankar of Tamil Nadu, Fathima of Secunderabad and Swarna Priyanka of KPHB Colony were among the other victims.

Complaint lodged

The passengers complained to the railway authorities that there were no policemen in the train and charged that absence of police facilitated the attack on passengers.

Sources said the Guntur railway police team travelling in the train got off at Piduguralla.

“They actually should travel till Nadikudi where a team of Secunderabad railway police will board the train. They alighted the train as they wanted to catch a train at Pidugurualla for the return journey,” railway official sources said.