Despite being gagged, confined to a locked room, and given death threats by a strange man who barged into her house when she was alone, 11-year-old Rishika Pujari remained completely unfazed whilst narrating the events to the police later. She had even attempted to fight off the intruder, to no avail. The police said her training in karate is what helped her keep calm.
Rishika’s mother Asha, found her daughter, a class VII student of Mount Mary School, weeping outside her home and explaining to neighbours that a six-foot-tall man had entered the house and threatened to kill her. “My daughter is very young, and she was sobbing out of fear when I returned home. But more than fear, she was worried that the thief had made away with most of our savings.” Once consoled by her father, Rishika calmed down within fifteen minutes.
According to Rishika, the robbery took place on Friday between 1.50 and 2pm at her ground-plus-one level structure in Goregaon (W). Her mother was dropping her brother to school, while her father, who runs a paan shop in Jogeshwari, was at work.
Rishika told the police that it was when she heard a commotion that she went out of her room to check what had happened. "An unknown person caught hold of me and gagged me by stuffing a handkerchief in my mouth," she said. When Rishika refused to tell the intruder where the keys to the cupboard were kept, he broke the cupboard open, taking Rs2.5 lakh. "The victim was dragged to the mezzanine floor, and she tried to bite the intruder but was overpowered. She made a second attempt to run away from the intruder, but failed," said senior inspector, Arun Jadhav, from the Goregaon police station. The police have attributed Rishika's training in karate as a possible reason for her ability to stay calm in this situation. "Rishika is a brave girl, but when a grown man threatened to kill her, she was scared and was no match to his strength. I am proud of my daughter,” her mother, Asha, added.