The police today said they have arrested two people in connection with the alleged rape-and-murder of as many women on board separate trains in Assam this week, even as railway authorities and state police came up with measures to make train journeys safer.
Main accused Bikash Das was nabbed from Tinsukia Railway Station yesterday evening, while his accomplice Bipin Pandey was arrested from the Dibrugarh-Bangalore Express at Banipur station in the early hours today, police said.
Officials of the state police, the Northeast Frontier Railway and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) held a meeting today and jointly decided to step up security measures in trains and stations, state Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia said.
"A meeting was held in the police headquarters (to find out ways) to prevent such incidents. We decided to intensify security measures in trains and stations across the state for making travel safer for passengers," Saikia said.
It is also decided that entry of unauthorised vendors and people in platforms would be stopped immediately, and coaches meant for the specially-abled people will be made secure and others would be barred from entering them, the DGP said.
The bodies of the two women were found in the toilets of coaches meant for specially abled people in two trains plying on the same route in upper Assam on July 10 and 11. They were also allegedly raped.
In both the cases, a 'gamosa' (Assamese scarf) was found tied around the necks of the victims.
The second body was recovered in Dibrugarh-Rajasthan Avadh Assam Express after it halted at Mariani Junction in Jorhat district the next day.
After the first incident, an SIT was formed with RPF and Government Railway Force personnel to investigate the case, the DGP said, adding that personnel were deployed in each station for looking out for the culprits.
Bikash Das, the main accused, was apprehended after an RPF man spotted him at Tinsukia station with a 'gamosa' of the kind used to strangulate both the victims, police said.
During interrogation, Das confessed to have raped and killed the women on running trains and said he was about to take a train to Furkating station to find his next prey.
Mobile phones of both the victims, the student's earrings and train ticket, and an anklet of the other woman were recovered from Das who is a vendor selling clothes in trains, police said.
Das had named Pandey, a rickshaw puller, as his accomplice in both the crimes and he was held at Banipur station following inputs provided by the main accused.
"We are suspecting they may have committed such crimes earlier and so their interrogation is going on in that direction," Saikia said.
Das had taken advantage of coaches meant for physically challenged people, which are normally empty and often boarded by women.
On the shortage of manpower in the RPF, the DGP said to tide over the situation, the Assam Police has provided four companies of its men in the last two days and will try to give more personnel.
Stating that there would be a special drive against drugging and looting of passengers, he said, a database would also be created on the recently released prisoners from jail along with their crime record.
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