Mumbai: Brave woman chases goons, cops question why

When 3 boys in an auto harassed Danielle Singh and her mother, and tried to snatch Singh’s chain and purse, she followed them to a Shiv Sena event and complained to the police. Their response: letting off the boys with a warning and asking her why she took ‘such a big risk’

While women’s safety is a topic of debate among police and political parties, it seems it has been confined to just that. A Vikhroli resident and her senior citizen mother had a terrifying ordeal when three teenaged boys drove up to the auto rickshaw the duo were travelling in.

Danielle suffered neck injuries and her mother couldn’t speak for two days
Danielle suffered neck injuries and her mother couldn’t speak for two days

The trio allegedly harassed them, and one of them even tried snatching their purse and chain. When the boys were eventually taken to the police station, cops simply let them off with a warning and a fine for the driver. The incident occurred with Danielle Singh (30) and her mother Jennifer (67), residents of Vikhroli. Danielle has written a note on Facebook about it (see box).

The boys were in this auto when one of them tried to snatch Danielle’s chain and purse. When they failed, the auto sped away, and the women followed
The boys were in this auto when one of them tried to snatch Danielle’s chain and purse. When they failed, the auto sped away, and the women followed

The duo were going home from Ghatkopar at about 8 pm on November 30 in an auto rickshaw, when the three teenagers came up to them in another auto. The teens allegedly harassed the two women; one of them tried snatching their purse and chain. Unsuccessful, the auto sped away, and the women gave chase.

Danielle Singh (left) suffered injuries to her neck when one of the boys attempted to snatch her chain. She says her mother, Jennifer, couldn’t speak for two days after the incident
Danielle Singh (left) suffered injuries to her neck when one of the boys attempted to snatch her chain. She says her mother, Jennifer, couldn’t speak for two days after the incident

After a long pursuit, the duo landed up at a kabaddi event, where local Sena leader, Upendra Sawant, allegedly asked them to forget the matter for a day and not create a scene till MLA Sunil Raut, who was at the event, left. Danielle said even policemen present there didn’t help, citing bandobast duty.

Finally, one cop took them to Vikhroli police station to register the complaint. Danielle alleges that Ashok Jadhav, police inspector, asked them why they had pursued the boys. Jennifer Singh heads all mohalla committees of Zone VII (Ghatkopar to Mulund) and Danielle is also part of a committee.

Police let off the boys with a warning and the auto driver was fined Rs 1,200. Danielle suffered neck injuries and her mother couldn’t speak for two days. According to her, after she put up the post DCP (Zone VII) Vinay Rathod called her up and said it was a slap in the face of Mumbai Police.

The Facebook post
On Sunday, November 30, my mother Jennifer Singh and I were returning home from Ghatkopar in an auto rickshaw heading towards Vikhroli. Our rickshaw had just turned onto the Eastern Express Highway when another rickshaw came by with three teenagers in the backseat, who shrieked so loudly that we were startled. One of them attempted snatching my sling pursue and the chain on my neck.

On attempting to grab their hand, they sped off. The chase continued till Airoli flyover, where we managed to get them to stop. They started hurling abuses at us and sped off, going towards Vikhroli. Whilst abusing us, they said: “We have a match, else we would have showed you the consequences of stopping us.” We realised where they were heading and went to the venue of a kabaddi competition being held by the Shiv Sena in Vikhroli (East).

We found the rickshaw at the venue. Despite informing local Shiv Sena leaders about it being a case of eve-teasing and attempted chain-snatching, they asked us to forget the issue and claimed they would look into the matter the next day. There were police also on the spot, but only one out of the many came to our rescue. The rest said they were on their so-called bandobast as the aamdar (MLA) was there.

The local Sena leaders asked us to keep the matter hush for the day as Sunil Raut was there and they did not want any issues created. My mother, a senior citizen of 67, was in a state of shock but none of the leaders helped. The one policeman who helped us got the rickshaw to the local police station.

A complaint was registered for the same, and after an hour at the police station, I was sent to the local hospital for a check-up. The medical officer on duty confirmed from medical reports that I had a gap in my neck and lower back due to the incident.

Once I went back at the local police station after the medical, Police Inspector Ashok Jadhav, who was looking into the matter, showed us the four accused. But police gave the 3 teenagers a warning and the rickshaw man was fined Rs 1,200.

PI Jadhav also made statements like “aisa risk nai lene ka, what if they had weapon? Why did you chase them?” So much for women’s safety that they harp about in election campaigns. So much for the safety of the women in the city of Mumbai.

(The post has been edited for length and clarity)

The other side
Police inspector Ashok Jadhav, of Vikhroli police, said, “We provided Danielle and her mother all the help. The three accused were students, so we told them what they did was wrong and warned them.

The rickshaw driver was an adult, so we took the action. We did whatever was needed at that point of time. We are also meeting our seniors today and all has been sorted. They were expecting VIP treatment, as they are in the peace committee of Mumbai Police. I have been in service for 32 years, and I know how to behave with women. I don’t use such language.

She is making up these allegations of me speaking to her in this manner.” Upendra Sawant, the local Sena leader whom Danielle alleges asked that they not create a scene, said, “It was I who helped them. I asked the police to take the rickshaw and helped them.”

After this reporter spoke to Sawant, Datta Dalvi, former mayor, called us up and said, “We provided all assistance to the two women. The boys weren’t there to participate in the kabbadi competition. They are not even 18. But, we have told local police to take stern action against them.”

DCP Vinay Rathod told mid-day, “I didn’t say the Facebook post is a slap on the police’s face. But I did call her and told her that appropriate action would be taken against the boys. We did take action against the boys, but they (Danielle) have some other grievance and we will look into it.”

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