MUMBAI: An elderly woman was dragged off a long-distance train by a robber between Masjid and Sandhurst Road stations after she refused to let go of her handbag. Pratibha Tripathi, 58, suffered multiple fractures as she fell on the tracks, but despite bleeding profusely, she waved to the motorman of a passing train who helped her.

The GRP on Sunday tracked down the accused, Muqaddar Idrisi, to a pavement near JJ Hospital.

Tripathi, a homemaker from Andheri, had boarded from CSMT around 8am on August 22. She was headed to Bangalore to meet her sister. She was in the first row of a reserved compartment when the train left platform no.17. After speaking to her sister on phone, Tripathi kept the handset in her handbag. Idrisi, who had also boarded the train at CSMT, suddenly came close to her and grabbed her handbag.

The train had slowed down, and he dashed towards the exit of the coach. But Tripathi wouldn‘t let go of the bag and got dragged along. After Idrisi jumped off the train, Tripathi fell onto the tracks and suffered fractures on her right arm and hip and cut her palm. Idrisi picked up her bag from the tracks and fled, leaving her grievously injured.

The family members of Tripathi later told TOI that she had struggled with the robber and has always been a fighter.

“Tripathi waved to the motorman of a Karjat-bound down train. The motorman halted and carried her into a coach. He then communicated to the station master at Byculla, where the cops attended to Tripathi and rushed her to JJ Hospital,” said senior inspector Hemant Bavdhankar. Tripathi handed her son Varun‘s phone number to the cops. “I had dropped my mother at CSMT and was reaching our Marol residence when cops called. I kept praying for her life throughout the journey to the hospital,” Varun said. He added his mother was not someone who gave up easily. “Her motto has always been that one should fight for what‘s right, even if it means giving up your life. When I told her cops had traced the robber, she said the man shouldn‘t be beaten but he should know what he‘s done to an old woman,” Varun said.

Idrisi was held on Sunday and has been booked for and attempted murder. “He has no crime history. But on interrogation, we found he had robbed a cellphone from a male passenger on August 20 near Masjid. Tripathi‘s stolen handbag contained some gold, cash and her cellphone. We arrested Idrisi before he could sell off both phones,” DCP Purushottam Karad said.

Tripathi will be bed-ridden for the next two months. “She is very close to her 3-year-old grandson and is in tears that she isn‘t being allowed to see him in hospital,” said Varun. “In fact, the day the incident occurred, she‘d made up her mind to get off at Dadar Terminus and return home as this was the first time she was leaving us and travelling alone. We had had an argument a few days ago as she had planned to travel by train when she could take a flight. We have never seen her being hospitalised in three decades,” he added.

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