Jyothi Uday, the bank manager who was brutally mugged inside an ATM kiosk, was discharged on Saturday after being treated for a month at a private hospital.
She was draped in green sari with a matching scarf when she addressed reporters after being discharged. She described what had transpired on the morning of November 19, when she set out for work at Corporation Bank. “It was like any other day. I needed cash and went to this ATM. I have been using it for several years.”
After a pause, she collected herself and continued. “Seconds after I went in, someone came in and pulled down the shutter. I thought he had come to load cash into the ATM machine, because they are the ones who usually close the shutter. Suddenly, he said, ‘Don’t scream,’ and kept repeating, ‘Saayisbidteeni’ (I’ll kill you). That was when I got scared.”
Jyothi was withdrawing cash to pay her three-year-old daughter’s school fees and refused to give him anything. That was when he started to assault her.
“He caught my neck, repeated ‘Saayisbidteeni’ and took out a gun. But I did not panic because it did not look like a real gun. He then took out a huge sickle but I still did not react or yield to him,” she said.
At this point, the mugger became violent. He hit her hard on the head with the sickle. “I fainted and landed on my stomach,” she recalled.
CCTV footage showed how the mugger had then taken her belongings and fled after pulling the shutter down again.
She lay there for three hours, unconscious and bleeding profusely. When she slowly came back to her senses, she dragged herself to the door.
“Once I woke up, the first thing that struck me was that I should inform my
branch manager because my shift had already begun and I was away. But I realised that I could not move my right hand at all. It was on my stomach, I could see it but not move it. I could hear some voices from a distance and people were talking and I began to shout so that they could hear me,” she said.
Jyothi then used her left hand to drag herself towards the shutter, and began to bang on it. “I screamed loudly and some people opened the shutter and came in. They put me in an auto, and I heard them say ‘Madam, we have to save your life.’ After some time, I could hear the voice of an old friend who reassured me I would be all right.”
All this while, Jyothi was conscious intermittently. Initially, she thought she just had a minor head injury. She had no idea her right side had been completely paralysed. “After reaching the hospital, when I got to know that I was paralysed, I was in agony. The right side of one’s body is very important,” she trailed off, with tears in her eyes. Jyothi looks forward to healing faster once she gets home and joins work in mid-January.
She expressed disappointment that the assailant was still at large. “When there is clear CCTV footage, it is not a big task to find him. Police should have immediately swung into action,” she said.
She also wondered how people could be oblivious to an ATM kiosk being shut for three full hours. “Any passerby should have paused to think why. There was no security guard and the lock of the ATM kiosk was not working,” she said.
Jyothi is cautious now, and says she will think twice before entering any ATM kiosk. “I will check if the ATM locks are working and if there is a security guard. Only then will I use it,” she said.
She urged the police not to slack off. “They should not lose any more time in finding him. The later it gets, the harder it will become for them to nab him,” she said.
Hand needs more time to Heal
Jyothi will be able to walk on her own by mid-January, Dr N K Venkataramana, chief of neurosurgery, BGS Global Hospital, told reporters.
She can also work for two to three hours a day and then gradually increase the number of hours, he said.
“It will take time for her fine hand movements to be restored and before she can write and type. Basic functions are possible now,” he explained.
He also urged people to use the Sanjeevani helpline 1062 to help accident victims get urgent medical attention.