A drive up to the scenic Bheemeshwari on the banks of the Cauvery, about 100 km from here, for a young couple turned into a nightmare after they were attacked and injured by a group of three men recently.
Worse, when they rushed to the government-run Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) seeking first aid, none came forward to help them.
Venkatesh Raghavan (35) and his wife Anjana (31) (names changed) would never have imagined what awaited them when they decided to travel to Bheemeshwari on Saturday afternoon to stay overnight at the JLR camp, famous for mahseer fishing. When they landed at the JLR property around 7.30 p.m., they were turned back as they did not have reservation and were advised to check with the Forest Department guesthouse nearby for accommodation.
Attacked with knife
According to Ms. Anjana, they set out but stopped to ask for directions from three motorbike-borne men. “Just when we were asking for direction, one of them snatched the car key. When my husband resisted, he drew a knife and attacked him on the nose and lips while another man tried to force open the other door and grab me.”
The couple managed to flee the attackers and ran towards JLR, about 50 metres away from the crime scene. Hearing their cries, a group of villagers travelling in an autorikshaw stopped, and the three men took to their heels. “We removed the tyres to prevent them from coming back and stealing the car. Then we approached the JLR authorities, who initially refused to help. Only after one of my Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer friends spoke to them were we given dinner,” Ms. Anjana said.
Mysteriously, she said, some employees who went out to see the crime scene returned with the bike and the car key. “The tyres were refixed and brought to JLR. We slept in the car the whole night.”
However, their ordeal had not ended. When they approached the Halagur police station to file a complaint, the officials dissuaded them. “They scared us saying we would have to go to court several times and the case would drag on. We did not want to file the complaint as we are moving to Chennai in a month,” she said and added that on Monday, they filed a complaint with the office of Director-General of Police. However, the local police are yet to register the complaint.
Meanwhile, Ms. Anjana has written to the JLR authorities to inform travellers not to arrive there without prior booking and reach their camps by 5.30 p.m. In case, there is no accommodation, at least travellers should be allowed to park the car inside and spend the night safely, she added.