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Another Snatching-related Death in Delhi, Cases up by 1.5 Times between 2019 And 2021

Over the years, incidents of snatching have increased dramatically in Delhi, police data analysed by CNN-News18 shows. Between 2001 and 2021, cases have jumped by about 14 times, and since 2019, the increase is nearly 1.5 times, the data shows.

This week, a 56-year-old woman, Sumitra Mittal, was killed after she fell off an e-rickshaw she was travelling in when three scooter-borne men snatched her purse in northwest Delhi’s Prashant Vihar area. This is not the first such incident in the city.

Earlier this month, a 35-year-old woman was injured after a snatcher, aiming for her gold chain, attacked her with a knife after she tried to resist the crime in Bhajanpura. In July this year, a 45-year-old woman sustained serious injuries when two men on a motorcycle tried to snatch her bag near the GK 1 M-Block market. In February, a 40-year-old woman died when she fell off a moving e-rickshaw while resisting a bag-snatching bid.

In October 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s niece also became a victim of snatching in the city with her purse and cellphone wrenched by two persons when she was alighting from an auto-rickshaw.

The Delhi police figures show that incidents of snatching have shot up in the city. In 2001, the capital reported just 675 cases of snatching – nearly two cases per day. By 2021, this increased to 9,383 cases – around 26 per day. In the past 20 years, 2015 reported the most cases of snatching – 9,896.

Snatching cases in Delhi over the years

Interestingly, between 2015 and 2019, the cases were constantly dropping. However, after 2019, the cases were on the rise again.

Further, the data up to July 15 shows that the cases reported in 2022 were about 13 per cent more when compared to 2021. Last year, Delhi reported 4,468 snatching cases up to July 15, which increased to 5,024 this year for the same period.

It is also important to note that Delhi is still waiting for an updated law against snatching. Currently, snatchers in the city are booked under sections 379 (punishment for theft) and 356 (assault or criminal force in attempt to commit theft of property carried by a person) of the Indian Penal Code. The maximum punishment under these provisions goes up to three years and two years, respectively.

A new proposal, waiting for an official nod, aims to add two new clauses to IPC Section 379 — 379A (snatching) and 379B (snatching and use of force). This will not only make snatching a non-bailable offence but also punishable with a maximum of 14 years of rigorous imprisonment among other things.

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