The Telegraph
Thursday , August 10 , 2017

Snatcher strikes in Botanic Garden

Aug. 9: A man snatched a bag containing money and a mobile phone from a woman inside the Botanic Garden in Shibpur this morning, police said.

The 34-year-old woman, a research scholar at the Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology, tried to resist but the man overpowered her, the police said.

The woman who lives nearby was in the over 200-year-old garden for a stroll when the snatcher struck.

When cops tried to go through the footage of the two CCTV cameras installed at the main gate, they found none to be working.

The woman told the police that the man attacked her on a lonely stretch.

"I could sense someone behind me. But I never thought the man would attack me," a police officer quoted her as saying.

"The man suddenly came close and pulled her bag. She tried to resist and they got into a scuffle," the officer said. "But he managed to get hold of the bag and flee."

The woman suffered neck injuries in the scuffle, he said.

Today's incident again brought to the fore the lack of security in the garden.

Last January, an armed youth had tried to snatch a mobile phone from a 25-year-old woman. But she had put up a fight, forcing the snatcher to retreat.

In July 2015, a 15-year-old girl was found semi-conscious and bleeding inside the garden. She alleged that she had been raped.

These and many others point towards lack of vigil, something that visitors have always said.

"The authorities have installed CCTVs but they don't work. There are overgrown weeds in many places," Tapas Das, the secretary of the Indian Botanic Garden Daily Walkers Association, said.

"Also the boundary wall near Bakultala has been lying broken for two years."

Twenty-eight security guards work at the garden in shifts. This roughly translates to nine at any point of time.

"It is impossible to provide foolproof security in the 273-acre garden with so few guards," Arabinda Pramanik, joint director of the Botanic Garden, said.

"I will request people not to visit lonely parts and to stay in places with people around."

He said that the CCTVs were damaged during the rains this monsoon.

At least 2,500 morning walkers have identity cards that they show at the main gate to enter the garden. Others have to buy an entry ticket.

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