NEW DELHI: Nitin Kaushik had cycled in Delhi without any hassle for four months, until his friend Ankit Singh was mugged by a group of men near the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, ITO, on a late February morning. The men snatched Ankit’s phone and sped away on a bike.Kaushik (35) and Ankit (27) are not alone to face these snatchers. Early morning cyclists complain that mugging is exponentially up in the past one month on the Preet Vihar-ITO stretch, which is widely used by riders moving towards India Gate from East Delhi.
“While cycling, I noticed a group of men rashly driving a motorcycle along the road near Minto Bridge. When I got closer, it became clear I had been singled out,” recalls Ankit. “I slowed down and let them pass. But they took a U-turn and attacked me from behind. A pillion rider on the bike pushed me and I fell on the road. In the meantime, when I was lifting myself back up, they snatched my phone. It was a bit brazen. I chased them down the road but lost them.”
Nitin and Ankit are members of a cyclist group, ‘Let’s Ride by Decathlon’. Smartphones of two of their group members were also snatched on the same stretch. Five cyclists of another group, ‘East Delhi Ryderz’, have been also targeted in the past one month.In March, Debina Thomas, 37, was riding with her 10-year-old son when two men attacked her from behind and snatched a phone from her hand in Laxmi Nagar. “My son and I were waiting for others when a youngster came from behind, snatched my phone and rode away on the bike with another man. The incident terrified my son. Since then, we haven’t stepped outside for a ride,” Debina said.
She has filed an FIR at the Shakarpur Police Station. “Such incidents are common. Police will do their work and continue with investigation,” the investigating officer in the case says.Police are treating these cases as robberies. But, riders fear such attacks will become bolder as more of their ilk venture out in the morning in their expensive bicycles. “We ride high-end bicycles that are not easily available in the market. Riders like us are easy targets at morning,” said Kamal, a member of ‘East Delhi Ryderz’ group. “After the rise in attacks, we ride in groups as a precautionary measure.”