The journalist was one of the many women on the train targeted by a pair of men who reportedly carried knives in their bag.

Two Kozhikode natives arrested for attacking woman journo in Kerala in a moving train PC/Screengrab News18: The two men arrested
news Crime Monday, November 08, 2021 - 13:50

Journalist Sreedevi (name changed) has travelled regularly on trains. But her journey from Thiruvananthapuram to Varkala on November 2 on the Malabar Express has left her shocked. Sreedevi was travelling with her husband, who is a Southern Railways official, and was attacked by two men who were reportedly targeting several women who were travelling alone on the train. The incident happened when Sreedevi’s husband deboarded the train for a few minutes at the Chirayinkeezh station.

While the train was halted at Chirayinkeezh, two men came towards Sreedevi and spoke to her in an abusive language. When she reacted, the men tried to assault her. She then called her husband over the phone for help. "My husband then came back and questioned the men for misbehaving with me. Soon, one of them hit him," Sreedevi tells TNM.

The two men were later identified as K Ajal (23) and Athul (23), both natives of Kozhikode. The men were arrested by the Railway Police when the train reached Kollam station. They have been remanded for 14 days. It's suspected that the men were under the influence of drugs.

The men boarded the train from Kazhakuttam station and, according to Sreedevi, had misbehaved with one more woman in another compartment near hers. “My husband was in uniform. He asked the men their seat number. But they were not sitting on the seats which they claimed to be theirs, and said that they had some friends sitting in the compartment and came to meet them. But throughout, no one came to meet them. Between Kazhakuttam and Chirayinkeezh stations, they went to many compartments and I think their target was women travelling alone,” Sreedevi says. “Later I heard from someone that they had knives in their bags, which makes me all the more terrified.”

The two men reportedly created terrifying scenes inside the train for more than an hour. When the Railway Police and ticket collectors on the train tried to rein them in after Sreedevi and her husband raised an alarm at Chirayinkeezh station, they threatened to jump off the train, Sreedevi says. “Then the other passengers had to close the doors,” she says.

“When we tried to alight at Varkala, (a station between Chirayinkeezh and Kollam), they blocked our way. The police entered the compartment after the train passed Varkala (which is 15 minutes from Chirayinkeezh). One of them pretended to have an epileptic attack when the police came. They even puked by forcing fingers into the throat to divert attention,” she adds.

In the visuals of the incident, the men can be seen arguing incessantly with the police both inside the train and later at the Railway police station in Kollam, where they were formally arrested.

"I never thought the journey would turn into something that would remain as a dreadful incident in my life. I haven't slept after that. My husband works in the Railways and he has to travel by train almost every day. This makes me all the more terrified. They had threatened that they would meet us later and from all that they show I really fear that they will do something terrible," Sreedevi says, urging governments and concerned departments to ensure that women’s safety on trains is strengthened.

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