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ATM attack rerun in Chennai ration shop

Chennai, Nov. 23: Two men armed with a machete and a knife entered a ration shop in Chennai this afternoon, pulled down the shutters and stuffed a handkerchief into the mouth of the lone woman employee before pulling off her gold earrings and robbing Rs 18,000 from the cash register.

The woman, whose earlobe tore in the snatching, lay bleeding and unconscious for 40 minutes in a frightening rerun of the attack on a woman in an unguarded ATM in Bangalore earlier this week.

Today’s incident occurred at Alandur, a suburb of Chennai, around 4pm.

The woman, identified as Gomathy, is a government employee with the co-operatives department, which runs the ration shop. After she regained consciousness, Gomathy started banging on the metal shutters as she was too weak to pull it up.

Since there is a temple next door, some devotees heard the banging and pulled up the shutters to find her. They rushed Gomathy to hospital and informed police.

The police are trying to establish the identity of the assailants from CCTV surveillance in the area and are also preparing sketches with the woman’s help.

According to police sources, Gomathy said the assailants were armed with a machete and a knife and had entered the ration shop posing as customers after ensuring that she was alone.

The woman has undergone a minor plastic surgery for her torn earlobe and is being treated for other injuries, the police said. “She is in a state of shock,” an officer said.