Guwahati, July 12: Police have registered rape cases in connection with the murders of two women found dead in the toilets of trains in Assam earlier this week after finding what appeared to be “semen stains” on their clothes.
Police have also apprehended a man from Tinsukia in Upper Assam in connection with the murders. Investigators are awaiting autopsy reports to confirm sexual assault, said a Railway Police officer who didn’t wish to be named.
“Two separate cases have been registered in railway police stations in Simaluguri and Mariani under sections 302 [murder] and 376 [rape] of the IPC on July 11,” R Chandranathan, special director general of police, railways, said.
Similarities in the modus operandi have led police to suspect that the same person may be responsible for both the killings.
In the first incident, a 21-year-old student of Assam Agricultural University hailing from Bihar was found strangled in the toilet of a compartment reserved for differently-abled people on the New Tinsukia-Rangiya Express on Tuesday.
Her body was found by a sweeper at Simaluguri station around 9.15 am, barely 20 minutes after she had boarded the train from Sivasagar.
A gamosa — a traditional Assamese handwoven towel — was found tied around her neck.
As the compartment was empty, there were no witnesses. The station does not have any CCTV cameras.
In the second incident, the body of a 48-year-old woman was recovered from the toilet of a compartment reserved for differently-abled people on the Awadh-Assam Express at Jorhat’s Mariani Junction around 2.15 pm on Wednesday.
Police said the victim, who also hailed from Bihar, had boarded the train from Dibrugarh in Upper Assam. “Her body was found by another passenger,” a railway police officer said.
In her case too, a gamosa was found tied around the neck and there were no witnesses in this case and the station also lacked CCTV cameras. Simaluguri is located 54 km from Mariani and falls on the same railway route.
The officer pointed out the similarities between the two cases to indicate that the same person may be behind both the killings.
“Both the victims were Hindi-speakers, and happened to be strangled in train lavatories. Leaving the gamosas behind must have been the culprit’s way of sending a message, besides inflaming tempers,” the officer had said.
Assam director general of police Kuladhar Saikia has constituted a special investigation team headed by RPS Meena, additional director general, Jorhat, to probe the murders. (Agencies)