At a time of renewed focus on violence against the fairer sex, several women of Bhopal have shown over the past year that they are more than capable of taking on criminals by foiling robberies and even saving the lives of their relatives.
The latest to join a growing list is 21-year-old engineering student Charanpreet Kaur, who drove away five armed robbers who were trying to break into her home by chasing them with a sword.
On January 8, Kaur became aware of the presence of the robbers while studying late at night in her home in the posh Ansal Pradhan Enclave. In a rare display of courage, she ran after the robbers with a four-foot sword before her father could come to her aid.
“I called my father, but I couldn’t have waited for him. So I decided to chase them myself. If they hadn’t run away, I would have confronted them,” Kaur told Hindustan Times.
A week before the attempted robbery at Kaur’s house, 22-year-old taekwondo trainer Sangeeta Rajak fought off some men who were trying to snatch her purse in a moving bus. Though one of the men slashed her hand with a knife, she fought with them and compelled them to jump off the bus.
Twenty-one-year-old Ruchika Chothrani from Bairagarh too foiled a robbery bid and saved the lives of her relatives, police records show. On June 19 last, several armed dacoits entered her home but Chothrani raised an alarm and confronted them, after which the men ran away.
And it isn’t just young women who have displayed courage in taking on robbers and other criminals. Uma Yadav, 42, and Sunita Sharma, 44, fought off men who tried to snatch their jewellery in separate incidents.
On August 25 last year, a man tried to snatch a gold chain from around Yadav’s neck when she was out for her morning walk. The feisty lady fought back and forced the man to flee. She then chased him with the help of an auto rickshaw driver, caught up with him and got him arrested.
“I could not let him go. I was so enraged at his attempt that I decided to chase him. I’m sure my actions will encourage women not to get bogged down by such petty criminals,” she said.
Sharma too was on her morning walk in May 2014 when a man attempted to snatch a chain from her neck. Sharma resisted and forced the man to flee.
Women have also emerged as front-runners in reporting crimes using the recently launched “Citizen Cop” mobile application of Bhopal police. In January, almost 80% of those who reported crimes through the app were women.
“Women seem more alert to crime and are forthcoming in reporting it. It is a welcome trend,” said additional superintendent of police Shailendra Singh Chouhan, who monitors the Citizen Cop initiative.
Home minister Babulal Gaur was all praise for the brave women. “They have proven that they are not the weaker lot that they are made out to be. They are actually the Rani of Jhansi and an example for other women. I would always encourage such women. I visited most of them personally to appreciate their valour,” he said.
According to figures from the National Crime Records Bureau, 3.09 lakh cases of crimes against women were reported across the country during 2013, an increase of 26.7% over the previous year. Madhya Pradesh recorded 22,061 crimes against women in 2013.