Deploy armed security guards at all ATM kiosks within three days, or shut them down, the state government warned banks on Wednesday.
Home Minister K J George met bank representatives a day after a 38-year-old bank manager was mugged inside an ATM kiosk in the heart of Bangalore.
The assailant smashed Jyothi Uday’s head with a chopper, leaving her unconscious. She was rushed to hospital three hours after the assault, and is recovering at a private hospital.
George said Bangalore has 2,580 ATMs, but only 1,900 of them are protected by guards. “We have directed banks to deploy guards at the other 680 ATMs.” He said muggers and burglars were repeatedly targeting ATM kiosks, and the government had met bank representatives three times, but they had not taken the security problem seriously.
The state will form a committee comprising the additional chief secretary, home secretary and senior bank officials to prepare guidelines for all banks, he announced.
Jyothi was brutally attacked inside an unguarded ATM kiosk on busy JC Road on Tuesday morning. The kiosk is located in the LIC divisional office building. A gun-wielding attacker hit her on the head after she resisted his demand that she withdraw cash and hand it over to him.
8 Teams Formed
Jolted by the attack on Jyothi, the police have formed eight teams and sent them to different parts of the state.
Police Commissioner Raghavendra H Auradkar said the Bangalore police had sent photographs of the assailant to all district headquarters and police stations in the state.
“From the CCTV footage, we know he speaks Kannada. We are sure he is from Karnataka, and we are confident we will arrest him soon,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
Of 36 recent ATM thefts, the police have succeeded in cracking 28. “We have repeatedly directed banks to take security measures, but they have just ignored the problem,” Auradkar said.
After Tuesday’s incident, the SJ Park police have registered a case under Section 397 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with attempting to cause death or grievous injury while committing robbery or dacoity.
Team scouring TN
Highly-placed sources said the assailant was not a history-sheeter, which is why the police had not been able to identify him from their records.
Bangalore police have sent the CCTV footage of the crime to neighbouring states. “We suspect he fled to Tamil Nadu, and we have sent a team there,” a senior police officer said.
Help catch him
Call 080-22942583 or 100 if you have any information about Jyothi’s assailant, the Police Commissioner has urged all citizens.