A 33-year-old fashion designer suffered a fractured hand and was nearly run over by moving vehicles after she fell off a running auto-rickshaw while fighting off motorcycle-borne snatchers in east Delhi’s Geeta Colony, the police said on Sunday.
The woman was able to hold on to her handbag, but her fall from the auto-rickshaw during the Friday incident caused a mini pile-up involving three cars that braked suddenly to avoid hitting her.
Deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara) Meghna Yadav said one of the two suspects in the crime had been identified but was yet to be apprehended. “We have registered a case of attempt to robbery,” the officer added.
Asha Mehra said this was the second time she fell prey to a street crime in the Capital.
In August 2017, Mehra said, she lost her handbag and a mobile phone after hailing an auto-rickshaw. “I was found unconscious along the ITO Flyover. I don’t know what happened. The police had suspected the auto driver, but he was never caught,” said Mehra.
Mehra lives in central Delhi’s Gole Market and works as a designer at a private firm in east Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar. She said she usually takes an auto-rickshaw to work.
“I hired the auto-rickshaw from ITO around noon and it drove down the Geeta Colony Flyover when the two snatchers struck. They were riding a white TVS Apache motorcycle and did not wear helmets,” she said.
In her first information report (FIR), the woman said the motorcycle ran parallel and close to the auto-rickshaw for a while before the pillion rider suddenly reached for her handbag.
“My handbag’s strap was entangled in my hand and a tug-of-war ensued between us. When the snatcher realised that I wasn’t going to let go, he pulled the bag with a sudden jerk. I tumbled out of the auto,” said Mehra.
The 33-year-old said she was lucky to not be mowed down by other vehicles despite landing in the middle of the road. “Three cars right behind me crashed into each other as they tried to avoid running over me,” she said. While the cars were damaged, no driver was injured.
Mehra’s right arm, however, suffered a fracture and she also sustained bruises on her limbs and abdomen.
This is not the first case of a passenger falling out of a running auto-rickshaw while trying to stave off snatchers. In the past three years, at least one woman has died, one was left in a coma and several others injured in similar crimes. Last week, CCTV footage showed a woman being dragged on a street by bikers in a west Delhi market after she held on to her bag.
Police officers say snatching is a crime that goes largely undetected and unsolved in Delhi. Experts say that the problem with solving such cases is that many of the suspects are first-time criminals and it is difficult tracking them in the absence of criminal records.