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Hospital worker pushed off platform onto Edmonton LRT tracks may lose leg, brother says

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A 78-year-old Edmonton hospital worker pushed off an LRT platform by a stranger Monday may lose her leg, says the woman’s brother.

Edmonton police have charged a 20-year-old man with aggravated assault after Sharda Devi Naidu was pushed onto an LRT track Monday evening at the Health Sciences/Jubilee station. 

Naidu remains in hospital as a result of her injuries and faces possible leg amputation, her brother told CBC News.

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“The damage to her leg was pretty severe,” Ram Mudalier said Wednesday. “It is getting to be very, very dangerous for women who are travelling alone.”

The victim and her assailant did not know each other.

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Naidu works as a porter at the University of Alberta Hospital and was on her way home after her shift when she was attacked, Mudalier said.

Naidu’s alleged assailant was arrested Tuesday. He is also accused of trying to attack a man with a weapon at a different LRT station.

Mudalier said he was told that his sister was in a glass-enclosed area at the station when a man began to verbally harass her.

She pulled out her phone and threatened to call police as she made her way to the platform, he said.

Mudalier said that’s when his sister was pushed onto the tracks. 

Police circulated a photo of the suspect. 

On Tuesday afternoon, transit security dispatchers spotted the same man on their cameras allegedly attacking a 53-year-old man with a weapon at the Churchill LRT station downtown.

Peace officers held the suspect until police arrived. 

In addition to the aggravated assault charge in the attack on Naidu, the suspect is charged with possession of a weapon and assault with a weapon in connection with the Churchill station incident.

“We need more peace officers on the system,” said local transit union president Steve Bradshaw. “We know that it takes resources. If it’s important to city council to do that, they’ll find the resources to do it. 

“But we need to get it done.”

According to statistics posted by Edmonton police, officers have responded to 133 violent incidents at LRT and transit centres in 2022.

Monday’s incident in Edmonton had similarities with a case in Toronto earlier this month.

On April 18, Toronto police made an arrest after a woman was pushed onto subway tracks at Toronto’s Bloor-Yonge station the previous evening.

The victim, 39, survived by pressing herself against the subway platform to avoid being hit by an oncoming train but was seriously injured in the fall. She has since been released from hospital, police said.

A 45-year-old woman was arrested April 18 and charged with attempted murder.

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