Beggars' modus operandi: 'You knocked down our kid. Now pay up'
A gang of beggars has reverted to an old tactic to extract dough from you. They’ll get their young ones to lie down under your car at a signal and scream murder till you shell out what they ask for. And you’re a preferred target if you’re a woman.
That’s what happened to an actress known for TV serials and supporting roles in Bollywood.
Himani Shivpuri has approached Santacruz police after some beggars hounded her on early Saturday morning. They stopped her car at a Santacruz (West) signal, shouting she had knocked their 10-year-old child and left him severely injured.
According to Himani, she was shocked when a beggar started knocking vehemently at her car window, demanding that she get down.
“They all gathered near my car and started fighting with me. I asked them what happened and they told me that I had hit a child. I don’t know how I could have knocked down a person since my car was stationary at the signal. Still I thought something serious might have happened, and not wanting to take chances, I took the boy to Asha Parekh Hospital.”
At the hospital, the doctors told her that a CT scan and X-ray needed to be taken without which they couldn’t begin investigating the injuries.
Witnesses said the boy kept screaming but no injury marks could be seen on his body.
“I immediately admitted the boy at the hospital after depositing Rs 5,000. But later the beggars approached the Santacruz police station and started shouting against me. That is when I suspected that they were creating a scene for no reason since I hadn’t given them money,” she said. “This is a gang which is targeting women drivers.”
Himani said, “At the police station, I submitted my licence since I was getting late for work and asked them to call me later. But I want the beggars to be investigated. I approached the police station but many do not have the time and are forced to simply pay up.”
She added, “I came to know from my colleague that these beggars also duped a friend of hers recently by adopting the same modus operandi.”
Santacruz police officers said, “We are crosschecking the allegations made by Himani against the beggars and are investigating the case.”
Latest menace to women motorists
Around 8-10 beggars in the city have formed a gang that targets women drivers.
They stop their cars at signals and quickly send their kids to lie down below the car after diverting the driver’s attention. Soon after, they start wailing that the driver has knocked down their child and left him or her severely injured.