She was robbed at knifepoint and punched in the face.
It was a bright summer morning.
Journalist Deepika Vij (33) was not travelling on a lonely stretch in the middle of the night.
She was going to office on Tuesday morning in an autorickshaw through a crowded stretch in East Delhi's Patparganj, when two men on a mobike pulled up alongside.
The men reportedly stopped the auto driver saying he was driving rashly.
After picking a fight with him, they turned to Vij, pulled out a knife and asked her to hand over her valubales.
When she resisted, they punched her in the face.
Vij, who works with the news agency Press Trust of India was robbed of jewellery and Rs 3,000. She was metres away from her home when the incident took place.
A case of robbery has been registered at the Mandawali police station.
Vij's is not an isolated case.
Women travelling by themselves in autos are proving particularly vulnerable to assault. Ten days ago, two motorcyclists robbed a 45-year-old woman when she was travelling alone in an autorickshaw in Model Town of northwest Delhi.
“We have registered a case of extortion after the woman complained to us,” said NS Bundela, DCP (northwest). “She was traveling alone and the motorcyclists robbed her at knifepoint.”
Till March this year, 280 cases of snatching and 130 cases of robbery had been reported from the city. The corresponding figure for snatchings in the same period for 2008 was 250. Which means snatching cases are up 12 per cent from last year.
On March 27, Hindustan Times had highlighted how snatchers had become emboldened and were targeting women at busy intersections.
That day a bank manager was robbed by motorcycle-borne assailants using a similar modus operandi.
Kusum Mehta (50) was on her way to Nehru Place to attend a meeting, when two men on a motorcycle suddenly hit her auto near Modi Mills flyover, picked up a fight with the driver, took out a pistol-like object and snatched her chain and gold bangles. They even beat her up.
"Such gangs are active in the city," admitted a crime branch officer on condition of anonymity as he's not authorised to speak to the media. "The gangs…are targeting women passengers now, as they are easy targets."