American attacked in local train: Victim refuses to meet railway cops, responds only by e-mail

Aug 23, 2013, 01:06 IST | Vedika Chaubey

GRP officials have arrested a suspect in the attack on the 24-year-old American but they are finding it difficult to carry on the probe as she refuses to meet them; they're also having trouble grasping her accent

It has been five days since 24-year-old American Michelle Dollmark was attacked in a Borivli-bound local train.

Unsafe commute: The 24-yr-old American national was slashed with a blade in a local train between Marine Lines and Grant Road stations. The assailant snatched her mobile and ran away

But as of Thursday, the Government Railway Police, who have arrested a suspect, were still clutching at straws since a communication gap with the American has left them without much to go on with.

Repeat offender: Sahabuddin Kalam Sheikh, the 24-year-old, was nabbed on the basis of the sketch (below) made. Cops found out that several cases of blade assaults and robberies are registered against him.

Accent barrier
According to GRP officials, they are unable to understand Dollmark’s accent and vice versa, forcing them to use e-mails to communicate, further slowing down investigations.

On Sunday afternoon, the 24-year-old was on her way home from church in Colaba when 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 incident left Dollmark traumatised and unwilling to meet or speak with authorities.

According to GRP officials, they have been following the case since day one and have also prepared a sketch of the accused but are still to find him. They say they have hit a roadblock as they are unable to grasp what Dollmark says.

An official added, “We have several personnel who speak English but she is not comfortable speaking to us and has asked us to send all our queries by mail. This is delaying investigations, as we first send her a mail, then wait for her reply and the chain goes on and on.”

Evading contact
On Thursday, MiD DAY visited Dollmark’s residence in Goregaon but the security guard of the building said that a day after the incident, she had left with her three friends and had not returned since. He also said that she refused to speak to anyone since the mishap.

The arrest
On Thursday morning, authorities nabbed a man who resembled the sketch. Identified as Sahabuddin Kalam Sheikh, the 24-year-old, lives on the footpath at Grant Road and has been in the city for the last four years.

The police found out during investigations that he is a regular offender and several cases of blade assaults and robberies are registered against him.

“We had detained 28 suspected persons but had to let them all go due to lack of proof. We have arrested a suspected boy and are questioning him. Dollmark has requested us to communicate only through e-mail,” said Eknath Jadhav, senior inspector, Churchgate GRP. 

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