who is a resident of our colony. She is QC Techie (Infosys) in cyberabad. Missed
her company bus and chose to take an auto. The driver had a friend
sitting next to him. When she noticed that the vehicle was going in
wrong direction she raised an alarm, shouted and tried to stop the
auto. Meanwhile her handbag fell out of the auto with all IDs and
cellphone. The accomplice sprayed something on the lady's face to
control her. She fell unconscious and when she woke up she was
somewhere in Medchal. Meanwhile the police contacted the husband and a
hunt was started. Ultimately the captors bought her a bus ticket and sent home.
There were severe bruises and signs of thrashings when
she returned home after about 12 hours of struggle in captivity. There seems to
have have been some negotiation and settlement. Finer details are not
known to me.
I would like to offer a few tips to women traveling alone in autos and
taxis.Many of these are applicable to vulnerable senior citizens also.
1. Always send an SMS to some friend as soon as you sit in the auto.
Always tell someone or the other over cell phone as to where you are
going to. Fake the conversation if needed.
2. Carry a pepper spray or some such self protection device and have it ready for use, though discretely, say under a kerchief.
3. If in trouble, draw the attention of others by banging metal object against
another metal - say a tiffin box on body of the auto
4. If you have water in water bottle pour it out slowly to leave a
trace / draw attention.
5. Invest time to learn karate, judo etc.this is on long term basis.
6. If you can equip yourself with a battery powered hooter, get it and use it.
7. Abroad, Tasers are available for private use. Persons having access
to buying things abroad may equip themselves with this.
8. Never get into an auto that already carries a driver's friend /
accomplice. IF the driver stops to pick up a friend on the way, just
refuse to entertain and walk out.
9. While traveling in an auto alone, never get absorbed in reading
some book and forget to be alert as to where you are going. If the
route is unknown, keep track of localities covered - this may be
useful later on.
10. Never show you are worried or afraid. Put on a bold face, be
prepared; Don't be paranoid either. Practice to be ready for any
eventuality. Don't get chatty with the driver and pass on all kinds of
info about yourself.