On World Sight Day, as Kishor Gohil waited for a train at Dadar station, he felt a hand in his pocket – the pocket that held his iPhone. Visually impaired since birth, the 44-year-old was determined that the pickpocket shouldn’t get away. Thinking on his feet, he first tripped the crook and then pinned him to the ground until the police arrived.
Kishor Gohil was accompanying a friend’s daughter to Mira Road when accused Pratik Bhendkar (extreme top right) tried flicking his iPhone
Ironically, while World Sight Day is marked to increase global attention on blindness and vision impairment, Gohil was struck by the apathy of fellow commuters who stood around as the thief struggled to get out of his clutches.
Kishor Gohil and his friend’s daughter were waiting at Dadar station for a Virar fast train. Illustrations/Uday Mohite
Yesterday, Gohil had gone to Dadar station with his friend’s daughter. “She was not feeling well, so I was going to drop her to Mira Road. We were standing at platform number 3, waiting for the 3.07 pm Virar fast train. We were standing near the handicapped section, when I felt someone’s hand in the pocket where I had kept my iPhone 5S.
He felt someone’s hand in his pocket and instantly suspected a thief was after his iPhone
The person was about to pull it out, but I caught hold of his hand. I started shouting, ‘chor, chor’, when the thief pushed me away,” Gohil told mid-day.
Before the crook could get away, he stuck his leg out and sent him crashing to the ground
“I immediately stretched my foot out and sent the thief crashing to the ground. I grabbed his legs and pinned him to the ground. Once again, I began to yell. The thief struggled hard, but I was determined to keep him there till the police arrived,” added the Ambernath resident, who is part of a band called Roshni, which includes visually-impaired musicians.
He grabbed the thief’s legs and pinned him down until the police arrived
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) police were there within minutes, recalled his friend’s daughter, adding, “I was a little shocked by the incident, but the police arrived and nabbed the accused. After that, a few people also came forward to help.”
The 24-year-old accused will be presented in court today
But Gohil is disappointed that no one came to his aid earlier. “I cannot see, but people who can did not come forward to help me nab the thief. I don’t understand why; the platform was crowded,” he said.
The accused was taken to the Dadar RPF station and identified as Pratik Bhendkar (24), a resident of Bhayandar. He was handed over to the Mumbai Central Government Railway Police (GRP), who registered the case.
Police Inspector Ravindra Dalvi of Mumbai Central GRP said, “The accused does not seem to be a repeat offender. We have registered a case under Section 379 (theft) of the IPC, and will produce him in court on Friday.”
“If I can do it, the sighted should also be alert and come forward to nab criminals. Mobile thefts occur frequently on local trains. I am amazed that the thief did not even spare a blind person,” Gohil told this paper.
“I appreciate Gohil for his alertness. We will reward him for his bravery. Most people who witness such incidents ignore it, but he took action. We will also try to get his phone back from the court as soon as possible,” the inspector added.
Gohil’s college-going son, Aman, said, “I am proud of my father. He is visually impaired since birth, but is more alert and active than the sighted.”
Once bitten, twice shy
According to Gohil, this is not the first time a thief has targeted him.“A few months ago, I was at Borivli station when one person tried to grab my gold chain. I caught hold of him. Other commuters assured me they would hand him over to police, but they did not. That is why, this time, I was adamant that I wouldn’t let the accused go till the cops arrived and filed a case,” he said.