The incident at Jalahalli, where a techie was assaulted by six drunk youngsters and carjacked near Gangammanagudi police station on Saturday, may seem like an isolated one.
However, such cases are still prevalent, according to the city police, who advice commuters to remain cautious, especially while travelling at night.
About a month ago, Yesu Pradeep (name changed), a private firm employee, was dropping his female colleague home when two men in an autorickshaw cut into their lane and stopped them near Madiwala police station. One of them headed towards Pradeep, while the other went towards the passenger door and asked Pradeep to wait for a minute.
“I lowered the window to find out what they wanted when he reached into the car and tried to take my keys away. I accelerated and moved away when I realised these men were looking for trouble,” Pradeep recalled.
The men tried to stop the car by throwing a rock at them, but missed. The autorickshaw began chasing them. Close to Silk Board junction, they were joined by another person in an autorickshaw. Every time Pradeep slowed his car, they would start banging on the windows of his vehicle.
Though Pradeep called 100 (the police helpline), he was unable to translate the numerals of the number plate as it was in Kannada. He then called Basavangudi police station and was directed to South End Circle, where a Hoysala was waiting.
“The men chasing us saw the police jeep too late. When questioned, they first claimed I had hit two men on a bike and escaped.”
“The story later changed to me hitting a woman and child and later, that I had hit an old woman,” Pradeep said.
Though the police took down the contact details of the men in the autorickshaw, they refused to share the information with Pradeep. He was finally directed to file a complaint at Madiwala police station.
A month on, the inspector at the station does not remember the incident, but claims that there have been no prior incidents of carjacking in the area. “This was only an attempt and cannot be classified as carjacking. There have been no prior incidents of carjacking in the area as we have police patrolling the streets and a checkpost near Silk Board. I will look into the details of the complaint,” he said.
Hemanth Nimbalkar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), agrees that there have been numerous instances of carjacking in the city and, like any crime, this too is of concern. However, he added that there are simple precautions that commuters travelling at night can take to prevent such incidents.
To begin with, “Do not get out of the car when you are travelling alone at night, be it for a smoke or to chat with friends. Do not stop your car for strangers asking for an address or a lift. This can go a long way in preventing an untoward incident,” he said.