The brutal attack on a woman in a Bengaluru ATM revives memories of the gang rape and death in Delhi of a medical student last December. There are eerie similarities between the two tragedies. In both cases, the women thought they were in a safe place. In Bengaluru, the woman did what countless others normally do — enter an ATM to withdraw money, in this case for her daughter’s birthday. In Delhi, the woman had boarded a bus with her male companion. But, for both, the routine event turned into a horrible nightmare.
While the Delhi bus had earlier been hijacked by a group of criminals, in Bengaluru, a brutal felon must have been lurking outside the ATM to see who enters it. Unfortunately, it was a woman. He lost no time, therefore, to follow her into the booth, pull down the shutters and assault her with a machete which may leave her paralysed on the right side of the body. Both the tragedies occurred in what can be termed public places. And, in both cases, the crimes took place because the authorities did not follow the rules. In Delhi, they neglected to see who owned and operated the bus and, in Bengaluru, no guards were posted as should have been done.
Only now has the Karnataka government woken up to ask all banks to post guards, but such knee-jerk, belated action will not do. The banks are the responsibility of the Centre and it is the bounden duty of the Union finance ministry to ensure that adequate security is provided to customers in the ATMs and the bank premises. Protection for them should not suffer because of cost-cutting measures by the banks. The Reserve Bank of India should issue strict guidelines while the Karnataka police must redouble its efforts to trace the criminal and bring him to justice.