A college girl walking down the Bypass-Patuli connector in daylight had her forearm slashed by motorbike-borne snatchers, the incident again highlighting the vulnerability of the poorly policed south-eastern fringe to crime.
So shaken was the injured student of accountancy that she didn’t report the incident to the police immediately after it occurred near her college around 1.45pm on Teachers’ Day. It was only on Friday that the woman and her parents went to Patuli police station to file an FIR.
“I had been waiting for a bus in front of our college gate before deciding to walk towards Garia More and take an autorickshaw till my Jadavpur home. I had barely walked 100 yards when a bike carrying two men braked near me and the pillion rider reached out for my bag,” the girl, who wished to remain anonymous, recounted to Metro.
As the girl clung to the bag slung over her shoulder, the pillion rider took out a sharp object that the police suspect was a blade. “He targeted my face and I raised my right hand as a reflex action, resulting in my forearm being slashed. The bike then sped away,” she said.
The victim didn’t see the duo’s faces because both were wearing full-mask helmets.
Pressing a handkerchief to the wound, the girl walked into a private clinic near Garia More, only to be refused first-aid.
“I then took an auto to reach the 8B bus stand in Jadavpur. I went straight to a private hospital to get my wound dressed before heading home,” she said.
This isn’t the first such incident along or off the Bypass, where surveillance and security remain inadequate despite being brought under the jurisdiction of Calcutta police.
Mamata Sen, a 78-year-old resident of Santoshpur Park, was attacked by two snatchers on a motorbike while she was taking a walk last Monday. She lost a chain with a pendant in the incident, which was reported to the police on Wednesday.
Criminals active in these areas apparently don’t spare even the police. A police officer’s house in Patuli was burgled two days ago.
The police brass cited the usual reasons for their failure to increase surveillance in this increasingly unsafe belt. “Our manpower is inadequate for the responsibilities that we have been given. We also need more vehicles to increase policing,” a senior officer said.
The spot where the girl was assaulted on Thursday is 500 metres from her college. On the same stretch, halfway between the Bypass-Patuli connector and the college, is Patuli police station.
The only time the road has some police presence is during the morning and evening peak hours. In the afternoon, traffic thins and the cops disappear.
The victim’s father, a customs official, said he decided to take his daughter to the police station on Friday only because he felt it was their duty to report the incident.
“I do not want you to mention my daughter’s name. She is still scared,” the father pleaded.
Metro had highlighted last month how a group of men in a vehicle had harassed a young woman walking towards a star hotel on the Bypass, forcing her to run across the road at the risk of being knocked down by vehicles whizzing past.
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