In two separate incidents in Bihar, four bogies of the super fast Shramjeevi Express were torched on Tuesday morning while a bogie of the Patna-Pune Express was robbed late on Monday night.
Students burnt four AC bogies of the train at Bihta railway station, about 35 km from Patna, following an altercation with railway security personnel who prevented them from forcibly occupying reserved seats.
East Central Railways Danapur division PRO R.K. Singh, however, said the clash occurred between the Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel and the students and that Railway Police Force (RPF) personnel were not involved.
According to Superintendent of Railway Police (Patna) U.K. Singh, the students boarded the air-conditioned compartments of the 2392 New Delhi-Rajgir Shramjeevi Express at Ara railway station and tried to grab reserved seats. Mr. Singh said they picked a quarrel and clashed with the security personnel when they were asked to get down at Bihta, the next station.
The students, however, alleged that the security personnel were trying to extort money which infuriated them and led to the dispute.
Mr. Singh said that three students, including the one identified as Santosh, sustained injuries in the clash.
According to the authorities, the students got angry following a rumour that Santosh had died, following which they smashed the windowpanes of the train and gutted the coaches at Bihta.
According to a regular passenger, however, it was RPF personnel who clashed with the students.
The incident started at about 8:45 a.m. when one of the security personnel got into an argument with a boy, who was a regular traveller from Ara. The officer said that the boy [Santosh) was not carrying a valid pass and punched him in the belly, said the witness.
Eyewitness sources also say that the officer then repeatedly hit the student with his rifle butt, breaking his chest bone. They said that two other boys accompanying Santosh were also hit by the security man and sustained injuries on their arms and legs.
Railway sources said the incident caused train services to be thrown off-gear for several hours on the Patna-Mughalsarai route
In another incident, a group of armed bandits looted a coach of the 2150 up Patna-Pune express.
According to sources, the dacoits looted more than Rs. 2 lakh in valuables and cash from about a dozen passengers and beat up 5 people including the ticket collector.
Railway police said that about 12 dacoits boarded the S-1 coach at Ara station disguised as passengers after midnight.
As the train picked up speed, the dacoits held the passengers at gunpoint and grabbed their mobile phones, watches and cash.
A railway officer from Mumbai, Suryamohan Thakur, sustained serious injuries and is said to be in a critical condition.