In a shocking incident, a young woman and mother of three daughters has pushed off a running train and killed while grappling with a mobile thief, officials said in Mumbai on Tuesday.
The incident happened on Saturday evening around 7.45 pm near the Kalwa suburban station on the Central Railway when the deceased, Vidya D. Patil 35, was returning home from her office in Andheri.
According to her brother-in-law Kamalakar Patil, it was her fourth day at work after she was on maternity leave for six months and delivered a baby girl recently.
According to Thane Government Railway Police (GRP) officials, Patil had boarded the train from Kurla for her home in Dombivali west, where she lived in Chinchodyacha Pada locality.
Just as the train started leaving Kalwa station, a robber jumped inside the ladies' compartment, grabbed her mobile phone and rushed to the door to jump out on the platform.
Not willing to give up, she lunged after him and caught his collar, but he pushed her while escaping, and she fell in the gap between the train and the platform and was run over.
The entire incident lasted barely 10 seconds, giving no time to two other stunned women commuters inside the compartment to react or help her.
Patil is survived by her husband Dnyaneshwar, who is an electrical contractor, three daughters - Purva, 9, Megha, 6 and Pari who is only 6 months old - besides an aged mother-in-law Indubai Patil, a grieving Kamlakar Patil told IANS.
Moving swiftly, the GRP scanned CCTV footage and managed to nab the thief, identified as a history-sheeter Faisal Jameel Sheikh, 31, from his hideout in the nearby Mumbra town.
Having several past cases of thefts or robbery against him, Sheikh was produced before a court which has been remanded to police custody till June 4.
The GRP have lodged offences of theft, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and other sections of the Indian Railways Act against the arrested-accused and probing further.
Seething with rage, the Patils have sought to know why there was no security onboard the train given the late evening hour when barely a handful of women commuters travel in suburban trains.
"Moreover, when the trains are allowed for only people in essential services, how did the thief manage to gain entry to the station premises, complete the nefarious deed and managed to escape. Is there a nexus," asked Kamlakar Patil.
The family has demanded the most stringent punishment for the accused to serve as an example to others.
The distraught Patil family and their clan have organized her post-funeral rituals on June 8 and 11, but have appealed to all not to visit them for condolences in view of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
Meanwhile, several railway association members and activists have demanded adequate compensation for the Patils from the Indian Railways since the incident happened on the railway premises due to its own lapses, and there were demands on social media to provide for the future of the three minor daughters of Vidya Patil.