The shop that 21-year-old Riya Gautam rushed into to save herself from the assault by her alleged stalker on early Wednesday evening was shut the next day. The blood stains on the cemented portion at the entrance are the only indicators of the incident that has shaken the neighbourhood.
With police officers stationed there briefly, the residents of Ram Nagar Extension stopped to stare at the only photo shop in the area and whispered about the girl who was stabbed there. According to a salesperson at a bakery in the area, Riya was walking with the accused in the lane outside.
“Five minutes later, I heard some noise and looked out to see a lot of people near the photo studio. By then, the man had run away,” he said. A 53-year-old neighbour, on condition of anonymity, says, “There was no one inside the shop when she rushed in. The owners live upstairs, and because it’s a close-knit and tiny colony, people leave their shops unmanned briefly.”Another adds that “the people from the shop were videographing the path only in the next lane, and had they been there, she might have been alive.” In the CCTV footage released by the police, it’s only
In the CCTV footage released by the police, it’s only towards the end that some people rush into the shop, even though the accused — taxi driver Adil — escapes. Twelve-year-old Pankaj (name changed) said he will not be able to forget what he witnessed on Wednesday night. “I live two houses away and heard the noise, so I ran out. That man ran past me, he had a big knife in his hand… and Riya didi was covered in blood… I had just met her in the afternoon,” he says.
The 12-year-old added, “She used to play badminton and bat-ball with us. She would eat pizza at the bakery two minutes away from her house. She always made us laugh and loved us…I will miss her.”