Man who attacked woman on Punalur train arrested; will emergency buttons be installed in trains?

The High Court has asked the Railways about the possibility of arranging an emergency button in the compartments, which can prevent such similar attacks
Man who attacked woman on Punalur train arrested; will emergency buttons be installed in trains?
Babukuttan

After almost a week after a 31-year-old woman from Ernakulam jumped off a running train in Kerala to evade an alleged rape attempt, the accused has been arrested by police.

The shocking incident happened on April 28, when the woman, who boarded the Guruvayur-Punalur Express from Mulanthuruthy station, was attacked by the man. According to railway officials, the compartment which the woman entered was empty. She suffered severe injuries jumping off the moving train to escape sexual assault and robbery. Some locals saw her jumping from the train and rushed her to the nearest hospital.

“I dropped her at the railway station in the morning. She told us everything happened in just five minutes. Her condition is stable now,” said her husband, adding that she used to take the train regularly to travel to her workplace in Chengannur.

The police have identified the assailant as Babukuttan, a serial offender who was released from jail a couple of months back. He was arrested from Chittar, Pathnamthitta after locals alerted the police after identifying his photo.

Following the incident, the Kerala High Court and the Kerala Women's Commission had reportedly started suo motu proceedings. Babukuttan has been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 394 (Voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), 307 (Attempt to murder), 376 (Punishment for rape) and 511 (Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment). The High Court has asked the Railways about the possibility of arranging an emergency button in the compartments, which can prevent such similar attacks.

Ten years ago, a similar incident took place on the Ernakulam-Shornur passenger train. A 23-year-old salesgirl, who was alone in the ladies compartment, was robbed and later raped by a vagabond named Govindachami. Thrown out of the moving train, the victim eventually succumbed to her injuries. Govindachami was sentenced to death by the trial court. The Supreme Court later commuted his sentence to life-term.

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