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Girl gang bust exposes auto travel risk

Patna, Dec. 30: People hiring autorickshaws from Patna Junction must note down their unique identification number or run the risk of falling prey to women’s gangs.

Yesterday, police busted a women’s gang involved in looting passengers hiring autorickshaws from the station at night.

Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaj said: “Based on the complaint of one of the victims, Kundan Kumar, and the autorickshaw’s unique identification number, we nabbed seven women and the autorickshaw driver. More arrests would follow shortly.”

Kundan, a resident of Chiraiya in East Champaran, had stated in his complaint that he had hired an autorickshaw for Mahendru from Patna Junction on Saturday night. Three decently dressed women were already sitting in the autorickshaw.

On reaching the Children’s Park at Gandhi Maidan, the trio demanded Kundan’s wallet.

When Kundan tried raising an alarm, the women threatened him of crying for help and thereafter, accuse him of sexual misconduct.

Moreover, one of the women called another man and the four, accompanied by the auto driver, not only beat up Kundan but also looted Rs 3,300 and his cellphone.

The SSP said the police formed a team and nabbed the driver, Roshan Kumar.

Acting on his tip-off, seven women were nabbed from different parts of the city.

The police also recovered Rs 21,000, looted from different passengers, and an auto from their possession. The women, aged between 20 and 35, used to target passengers travelling alone.

They used to dress decently to avoid suspicion about their real identities and actual intention.

The police have appealed to people to travel in autorickshaws carrying police codes or unique identification numbers for easy tracking of the three-wheelers in case of any trouble.

The police have also asked the public to lodge complaints against autorickshaws, which ply without police codes or unique identification numbers.

Based on the complaints by passengers, necessary action would be taken against those drivers plying autorickshaw without such police code.

SSP Maharaj said: “Autorickshaw drivers should be prepared to face the cancellation of their licences and vehicle registrations if their vehicles are found plying without the unique identification numbers.”

Sources said at present, over 30,000 autorickshaws ply in Patna.

Former SSP B.S. Meena had come up with the plan of unique identification numbers for autorickshaws in December, 2010, after some drivers were accused of gang rape.

“Over 80 per cent of the autorickshaws now have the unique identification number. However, there are still some vehicles, which don’t have those. Since incidents of crime involving autorickshaws have come to the fore recently, it is necessary for all autorickshaws to have unique identification numbers,” said another police officer.