When Manjunath Devareddy, a 23-year old Mechanical Engineering student in Bengaluru stepped out of his house on Sunday afternoon, all he hoped to do was repair his mobile.
But in fifteen minutes, he got much more than he bargained for.
Manjunath and his friend Kariappa were walking along MG Road near the Rangoli Art Centre when they heard a loud voice calling for help. "I thought it was a joke initially and the policeman nearby was talking on the phone unaware of what had happened. But when I saw a man wielding a knife at a woman and running off with a necklace, I did not think. I just took off behind him," says Manjunath recounting the manic fifteen-minute sequence.
Manjunath chased the chain-snatcher, Dastagir, across the road coming out on the other side on Church Street. "The chase continued on Church Street. Because he had a knife, nobody tried to catch him. Policemen, auto-rickshaw drivers who were present around tried to stop him but he managed to struggle free and kept running towards St. Mark's Road," says Manjunath.
Mukesh, a bar employee on Church Street, also set in hot pursuit of Dastagir but he was stabbed in his hand when Dastagir swiveled around with his knife. An unidentifed man tried to block Dastagir off by throwing a cycle onto his path but Dastagir managed to avoid it and continued running, only to come up against two more unsuspecting police constables, Pratap and Mahesh.
At the end of the road, Manjunath, along with Nagesh, the police constable from MG Road, managed to catch up with Dastagir and pinned him down on the ground. However, at this point, Dastagir once again swung his knife and this time slashed his lower abdomen and stabbed his left hand. "My shirt tore off and my hand was hurt but I did not realise it. For the first time, I was beginning to feel scared because until now I had not thought of the consequences of him stabbing me with a knife," says Manjunath.
Manjunath Devareddy (23) chased the chain-snatcher for fifteen minutes and helped the police nab him
Taking advantage of the split second of hesitation, Dastagir managed to struggle free and continue running away. However, the chase did not last much longer. "He was exhausted by this point and now a lot of people were observing what was happening. He ran another 10-20 feet and collapsed after the police constable kicked him down again,"says Manjunath.
This time around, Manjunath managed to kick the accused's hand and pin the knife down allowing the police and others nearby to take him into custody.
However, Manjunath does not remember much after this point. "I went to a nearby shop and managed to clean myself up with a waste piece of clothing," he says. "It was much later when I visited Cubbon Park police station that I saw that he had been taken into custody. The police then took me to Bowring Hospital for treatment," he says.
Manjunath's day ended at around 11 pm when he left the hospital with five stiches on his left palm and headed for Kanakapura Main Road, where he resides in a PG. "I still haven't fixed my phone," he chuckles. "But I am glad I managed to help the police," he adds.