The Mumbai police rescued a 32-year-old woman who climbed to the 18th floor of a high-rise under construction in Sewri on Friday.
The tense episode lasted a few hours and the woman was finally brought to safety around 3pm by a police team that included police inspector Shalini Sharma, the city’s first hostage and crises negotiator, who has undergone training in the UK for such emergencies.
The woman, who has a law degree but does not practice, climbed the building around 7am after telling her parents that she was going to visit a temple.
- Shalini Sharma, the Mumbai police’s liaison officer with Interpol, was chosen to receive training in hostage negotiation and crisis management in London in 2010.
- She completed the two-month course at New Scotland Yard.
- Her training applies to attempted suicides, domestic violence emergencies and terrorist situations.
At 11.45am, the Mumbai police control room received a call from a unidentified person who had spotted her.
Sharma told Hindustan Times, “The woman was visibly distressed. She was taking photographs and shooting a video from up there. A team of local policemen tried to counsel her but she was aggressive and stubborn.”
After their efforts failed, Sharma was told about the crisis. What followed was a counselling session during which the police spoke to her and tried to ensure that she stayed a safe distance from the ledge. Meanwhile, a fire brigade team worked on rescue plan just in case she fell or jumped.
“The barrier around the ledge was only a foot high and she was standing close to it. She was very emotional,” said Sharma.The woman was offered water and asked to remain calm. She was finally pulled to safety.
“The woman was distressed. However, she said it was not caused by her family or work,” said Sharma.
The police have asked citizens to contact them if they come across similar situations. “There is a dedicated team of Mumbai police who are trained for such crises, so people should contact us,” said Sharma.
The woman received medical attention and her parents were informed.“We referred her to a psychiatrist at KEM Hospital, who counselled her,” said Bhagwat Bansod, senior police inspector, RAK Marg police station.
Last month, a 23-year-old college student died after he jumped from 19th floor window of a hotel in Bandra. He had live-streamed his final moments on Facebook.