The assault on 24-year-old American Michelle Dollmark in the first class coach of a Borivli-bound local on Sunday afternoon serves only to prove the crying need to secure Mumbai’s suburban rail network, which has become a hub of crimes against women.
After a day, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has detained 28 suspects and is carrying out investigations, while the victim is in a state of shock.
“She is in trauma and not in a condition to speak to anyone. We have informed her family members and her brother is supposed to come within a day or two. This is very sad that such innocent passengers have to suffer these ghastly attacks. And she is a guest of the city!” said a friend of the victim who didn’t wish to be named.
Dollmark has been staying in Mumbai for over a year and is working with an NGO in Andheri. She is a member of Colaba Church. Her friends were there in hospital with her to offer their support.
On the day of the assault, she visited the church and was on her way back to her house in Goregaon. Around 4.30 pm, at Marine Lines station, the accused boarded her coach and slashed her with a blade on her neck and face, before grabbing her phone and scampering away at Charni Road, the next stop.
“As she didn’t see any policemen at Grant Road platform, she decided to get down at Mumbai Central,” a GRP officer said. Here, the Railway Protection Force men took her to the stationmaster and after giving her first aid, the GRP took her to Nair Hospital. She got five stitches to her neck and took discharge from the hospital against medical advice.
“She is very disturbed with the incident and hasn’t stepped out of the house. She will decide whether to stay back here or go home to the US once her family members arrive,” her friend said.
The GRP have also made a sketch of the attacker. SI Eknath Jadhav, Churchgate GRP, said, “We are investigating the matter and have arrested suspected people for enquiry. We are comparing the sketch with the 28 persons we have picked up on suspicion.”
‘He tried to snatch my purse’
The first person account is excerpted from Michelle
Dollmark’s FIR statement to the police:
I, Michelle Dollmark, 24-years-old, US resident have been working in the city with an NGO for the last 16 months.
I stay at Goregaon along with four other colleagues of mine.
It being a Sunday, I had gone to the church in Colaba, and on my way back, I boarded a train from Churchgate.
When the train reached Marine Lines this 20-25-year-old hippie, wearing an orange shirt and brown pants, got in the compartment and came close to me.
I was carrying my phone and purse. He came and tried snatching the phone. I resisted, and we got into a mini scuffle. However, seeing my resistance, he took out a blade and attacked me on my neck and face.
He got down at Charni Road and ran away.
I got down at Mumbai Central station and approached the nearest policeman and told him about the incident. From there I was taken to the stationmaster’s office and then
Nair hospital for treatment.
Women under attack
>> May 2: Delhi resident Preeti Rathi is attacked with acid at Bandra Terminus, succumbs to burns a month later.
>> June 14: 24-year-old Purva Bhogle is molested while she is waiting to get down from a local at Dadar; she slaps the pervert and hauls him to the cops
>> July 27: A drunkard tries to rape a 23-year-old woman in a local early morning, while the railway cop who was to man the coach is nowhere to be seen.
>> August 16: A 30-year-old Western Railway employee is caught masturbating on a Churchgate-bound fast local in the morning; he was waving at the women in the ladies compartment while in the act.