Snatchers target three journalists in separate incidents, police form teams to nab culprits
Three journalists were targeted by snatchers in separate incidents in southeast and southwest Delhi between Saturday night and Monday morning. Two of them lost their phones while travelling in an auto-rickshaw and the third alleged that her phone was snatched while covering the PM’s road show at Palam.
In the past 10 days, a spate of snatching incidents have been reported in Delhi. HT reported on Monday that Delhi Police have been registering several cases of snatching as simple theft, in a practice that experts said may explain the Capital’s declining street crime numbers at a time when anecdotal accounts suggest it is one of the biggest problems plaguing the city.
In the case reported Monday morning, two men on bike snatched the phone of 31-year-old journalist Pushkar Banakar when he was headed towards Jangpura from Sirifort in an auto-rickshaw. “I was accompanied by two friends. I was sitting on the extreme left of the auto. Two men, both wearing helmets came close to our auto on a bike and snatched my phone from my hand. They sped away,” Banakar said.
Banakar’s friend, who was accompanying him, said he dialled 100 from his phone but it kept on repeating a pre-recorded message suggesting to dial the newly launched helpline number 112. “Despite 3-4 attempts we failed to connect to the police. Banakar then decided to go to the police station and file a complaint,” his friend said, who did not wish to be named.
Banakar said he went to Nizamuddin police station but was asked to visit Sunlight Colony police station. “I then filed an e-FIR online. Anyway, I am not hopeful of getting my phone back,” he said. Banakar, who is from Hyderabad, has been working as a journalist in Delhi for the past six years.
In the second case reported around 11.30pm on Saturday, Eva Thakur, an intern working with a daily was targeted by two men on a bike who snatched her bag when she was returning home in Kailash Colony in an auto.
“My friend was accompanying me when two men came closer to our auto on a bike and snatched my handbag. We got no time to react. Luckily, I had my phone in the other hand. I immediately called the police and reported the matter,” she said.
Thakur said police initially register the case under sections of theft. “Only when the matter was raised with the senior police officer, the IPC section of snatching was added,” she claimed.
Deputy commissioner of police (southeast) Chinmoy Biswal said they have formed separate teams to nab the culprits. “CCTV footages are being checked. Measures like setting up additional pickets and night patrolling have been put in place. I am also looking into negligence in filing the case,” Biswal said.
In the third incident reported the same night around 8.30pm, a journalist working with a news channel alleged that someone snatched her phone at Palam when she was there to cover the Prime Minister’s road show after his arrival from the USA.
“The area was too crowded. I was holding a microphone in one hand and my phone in the other. Someone from the crowd snatched my phone and disappeared. I approached the policemen standing there but they asked me to dial 100. If they tried they could have caught the man,” she alleged.
The 23-year-old journalist who has been working in Delhi for the past three months, said she had to finally go to Delhi Cantt police station to get his complaint registered. “An FIR on my complaint could only be lodged by 5pm on Sunday,” she alleged.
Deputy commissioner of police (southwest) Devender Arya said, “A snatching case has been registered and our teams are trying to catch the man. We are also checking CCTV footage to identify the criminals,” he said.