24-year-old Michelle Mark, who has been working in Mumbai for three years and regularly takes the train, told the police that on Sunday evening, a man got on her compartment and tried to snatch her handbag. Ms Mark had boarded the largely empty compartment from the Churchgate station in south Mumbai.
When she resisted, the man, said to be in his 20s, attacked her with a small blade and slashed at her face, arms and neck. He then snatched her iPhone and ran away.
But after the incident, when the bleeding woman asked for help, a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable posted at the Charni Road station and the station master both refused, and asked her to go to the Government Railway Police office (GRP) instead.
The personnel allegedly said: "It is not our concern." The callous response highlights how the safety of passengers could be endangered by inter-departmental tussles.
The GRP says both RPF personnel as well as station master should have offered medical help.
The police are checking CCTV footage to track the attacker. They say they suspect the man was a drug addict and has a record of such crimes.
On July 26 this year, another woman was attacked inside the ladies compartment near Mahalaxmi station when she resisted a molestation attempt by a man.