A woman was stabbed multiple times by a youth inside a Sealdah-bound local train at Kalyani railway station when she asked him to get down from the compartment immediately as it was a ladies only compartment.

The incident took place in the Sealdah-bound Kalyani Simanta local train on Thursday at around 7.30 p.m. when the train was just leaving the station.

The woman, identified as Anima Sahoo (32), a resident of Bhutbagan area in Kanchrapara, was immediately rushed to the Kalyani Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial (JNM) Hospital in a critical condition where the doctor said the victim was stabbed for at least 18 times.

A railway police officer said they have started a probe into the matter, but no one has been arrested yet.

The incident left the passengers in a state of panic and many women had jumped out of the moving train.

None was, however, injured. Police declined to comment on the a palling lack of passengers’ safety in local trains.

“We need to talk to the woman in detail once she recovers. We are trying to identify the assailant and arrested him. It could not be immediately ascertained that the woman was stabbed on the account of asking the youth to de-board the ladies compartment. We are not ruling out any old enmity with the victim,” an RPF officer added.

According to eyewitnesses, some hawkers on the platform first noticed that some women had jumped out of the ladies compartment in a panicked state, and others were crying for help as the train started leaving the platform.

The hawkers had immediately drawn the attention of the guard, who then stopped the train. The hawkers then rushed inside the ladies’ compartment and found a youth stabbing a woman. When the accused saw the hawkers, he immediately jumped off the train from the wrong side and ran away.

Some of the hawkers chased him, but they failed to catch him. The woman was then rescued by the hawkers and rushed to the JNM hospital. “The youth stabbed the woman multiple times with a knife. He jumped off the train from the wrong side when a few hawkers got onto the compartment hearing the screams of the victim. The accused is yet to be nabbed,” the RPF officer said.

A woman commuter said the victim works as a nursing staff in a private hospital in Kalyani and had boarded the unguarded ladies compartment of the Kalyani Simanta local train from Kalyani station and got involved in a quarrel with the youth soon after the train started moving out from the platform. “The incident took place so suddenly that we were scared and some of us even jumped off the running train,” Priti Das, a resident of Kanchrapara, said.