Two bike-borne men snatched the handbag of a 35-year-old woman travelling in an auto-rickshaw in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi on Friday when Delhi had been turned into a fortress for the Beating the Retreat Ceremony.
The woman, from Chandigarh, screamed for help and chased the snatchers in the auto-rickshaw for nearly two kilometres but neither security personnel nor traffic officials deployed on the routes came to her rescue and instead passed the buck over jurisdiction issues.
Nidhi Goel, who works as a coordinator with the education department of Chandigarh, had come to attend a meeting organised by the ministry of human resource development in Delhi and was heading towards the New Delhi Railway Station when the incident happened.
“We had boarded an auto-rickshaw from outside the meeting venue in south Delhi. Around 3.30 pm, when our auto-rickshaw reached near the mosque on Mansingh Road, two men following the three-wheeler on a motorcycle snatched my handbag containing R5,200 in cash, and other belongings,” said Goel.
“I screamed for help and asked the auto-rickshaw driver to chase the bike. We spotted some traffic police personnel standing on the roadside. But despite seeing two men riding a bike without helmets and hearing my screams, none of them moved. The snatchers disappeared in one of the lanes near Le Meridien hotel,” she said.
The woman rued the attitude of a police control room (PCR) vehicle officer, the first responder to any crime, who instead of reacting to her complaint allegedly asked her to call the control room and wait for the police.
According to the woman, the PCR official remained unmoved even when she informed him about the direction the snatchers. Goel was so fed up that she went back to Chandigarh without pursing her case.
Speaking to HT over the phone from Chandigarh, Goel said she and her colleague spotted a PCR van parked on the road and she requested the PCR van officer to alert cops deployed on the route taken by the snatchers.
“The PCR van officer refused to act. He asked me to call the police control room . He asked me to file a complaint with the local police. A police team that arrived returned saying the crime did not happen in their jurisdiction. A team from the other police station arrived and asked me to accompany them to the police station. I preferred to record my statement on the spot and catch the train back home,” she said.
Jatin Narwal, DCP (New Delhi), said they had registered a case and were probing it. Around five thousand security and traffic personnel were deployed in central Delhi, especially in areas around Vijay Chowk and Rajpath, and traffic movement were restricted for the Beating Retreat function.