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Friday, September 25, 2020

Teenager who fought off snatchers: ‘Got confidence from Taekwondo videos on phone’

The police say the man she fought off was a hardened criminal who was facing seven cases, but was out on bail due to the pandemic.

By: Express News Service | Jalandhar | Updated: September 5, 2020 9:08:23 am
"I feel so lucky that my mobile is with me even after the incident,” says Kusum, daughter of a daily wager, Sadhu Ram. (Express photo)

Fifteen-year-old Kusum had always dreamt of becoming famous. Little did the Class 8 student know that a run-in with snatchers would earn her that fame. But this was far from her mind when a man out on bail tried to snatch her mobile on a Sunday afternoon. Kusum fought back and not only managed to wrest her mobile from the man who repeatedly hit her, but also nabbed him with the help of passers-by.

Kusum was returning home after taking tuition from a distant relation in Fatehpur Mohalla near Deen Dyal Upadhya Nagar when she was attacked by the snatchers on a bike. “I was about to call my father to tell him that I was on my way home when I felt this tug,” she recounted.

The police say the man she fought off was a hardened criminal who was facing seven cases, but was out on bail due to the pandemic.

Impressed with Kusum’s bravery, deputy commissioner Ghansyam Thori has announced an award of Rs 51,000 for her.

Recuperating after a wrist surgery, her right arm in a bandage, the teenager said she is still getting used to all the attention coming her way. “I wasn’t scared when he hit me and snatched my mobile; all I knew was that I had to get it back come what may.”

Read | 15-year-old who fought off snatchers: ‘Lucky my mobile phone is still with me’

The teenager, who studies in Lala Jagat Narayan DAV School and wants to be a policewoman, is all smiles as she tells you how fond she is of her mobile. It belongs to her father, who works as a daily wager in an iron sheet factory. “He gave it to me after the lockdown so that I could attend online classes… Of late, I have also been learning Taekwondo on it,” she said.

Those moves came in handy when she chased the snatchers. The entire incident was captured in a CCTV installed in the neighbourhood. The video, which went viral, shows two bike-borne youths snatching Kusum’s phone, after which she chases them. The pillion-rider repeatedly attacks her wrist with a sharp-edged weapon but the girl does not relent. A man then comes running followed by other residents and overpowers the pillion rider while the biker flees.

“Perhaps I got this confidence from watching Taekwondo training videos on the mobile,” the teenager said. “My friends and I get together and practice Taekwondo whenever we get time,” she said.

Her father Sadhu Ram, who came from Faizabad in UP to Jalandhar 40 years ago and decided to stay on, said Kusum has always had big dreams despite their modest life in two small rooms. “I admitted her in a good school recently after she failed in 7th standard.Now she is doing well even though her monthly expenses come to around Rs 3,000,” he said.

Sadhu Ram says the teenager had been pestering him to get her admitted in a karate class but he refused because of the high fees. “This incident has made me realise the importance of self-defence training for girls,” he said.

Mangat Ram Sharma, who came to Kusum’s rescue, says he was sitting in the courtyard of his house when he heard her cries. “I ran out and we managed to nab one of the snatchers.”

Meanwhile, locals are pouring in to meet the feisty girl. The Jalandhar police have now recommended her name for the national bravery award.

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