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Railway employees hid in toilet to save lives from mob

Sunday - December 15, 2019 11:34 pm , Category : INDIA
Kolkata, Dec 15 (IANS) A handful of terrified railway employees spent, perhaps, the most agonising moments of their lives hiding in a toilet as a rampaging mob went about destroying railway property and setting afire whatever they could lay their hands on at a station in Kolkatas southern suburbs on Sunday.
"We hid in the toilet to save our lives. Myself, other officials, as also the station master," said a Railway Commercial staff.
"Those were terrible moments. Outside there was a lot of commotion. Everything at the station was being attacked and set afire," said the man, as the Acra station of the Eastern Railway looked like a ravaged battle zone.
It all began at around 10.30 a.m. when a group of anti-citizenship law protestors gathered on the tracks, blocking movement of trains. Soon they started attacking trains at the station.
The driver of the Budge Budge-bound Sealdah Local was forced out of his cabin. "On seeing a big crowd on tracks, I stopped the train. Then they asked me to leave the cabin. When I informed my bosses, they told me to ensure my security first," said the driver.
The mob then attacked the driver's cabin, smashed window panes of coaches with rods, sticks and stones, and also started removing seats, said eyewitnesses.
Later, they ransacked the station superintendent's office, attacked the ticket booking counter and uprooted and threw the ticket vending machines on the tracks.
The railway employees tried to escape the mob fury by rolling down shutters of the counter. But the protestors broke the shutters with electric post and set ablaze the counter.
The railway employees, along with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel, fled to save their lives by hiding in the toilet.
When the fire tenders arrived, they got stuck in the blockades set up outside the station. When finally, the firemen reached the spot, it was too late.
To control the mob, the police had to lob tear gas shells and resort to baton charge.
Five policemen, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and inspector-in-charge of Maheshtala police station, were injured.

--IANS ssp/pcj