Sunday, February 25, 2018
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Normally  a tempo, halting near the Railway station or a Bus stand, or a Tempo stand does not move till a few customers board his vehicle. His first preference is to go packed from the starting point itself. But if that is not possible he moves forward, hopeful of getting more customers on way.

If that is by and large the true picture, shouldn’t it be surprising to find some tempos absolutely vacant? If you find one, I would advise you to avoid boarding it because there could be some drivers who keep their tempos deliberately empty  and choose to welcome only a customer who is carrying bag and baggage and is all alone. Once such a ‘fish’ is netted, after some distance the accomplices of the driver also mount the vehicle and sit on either side of the customer, preferably on the front seat. The tempo driver in the meanwhile tries to give a jerk or two to enable  the  swindlers sitting on both sides of the lone customer to fall on the passenger, pretending that it was due to the jerks but actually touching his pant pockets on both the sides and also jostling near his shirt or coat pocket. When they are convinced that the man is carrying something worth pilfering, they give a quiet signal. The driver this time gives a bigger jerk. The mission is accomplished. Then the driver says: ‘Sir, my tempo seems to have developed some defect. I would like  you to board another tempo. I will not charge you any fare. Sorry sir’. The customer realizes the driver’s helplessness and also appreciates his gesture in not charging any fare. The driver knows that if he asks for the fare and the man finds his purse missing he may raise an alarm. But this way he dismounts quite pleased  and the tempo drives away.
It is later that the man discovers that both his costly mobile and the purse, in which he was carrying several thousand rupees withdrawn from bank, all gone.
 In case of women passengers returning from banks, these drivers have another method. They have women accomplices too who sit by the side of the women returning with bank money. More passengers are squeezed in so that the women pickpockets have an excuse to huddle closer to the victims. I was told  that two such women, clad in burqa, after completing their mission, got down near Pani Ki Tanki where as the victims were headed for Preetamnagar. It is only when the mother and daughter reached their destination and got down that they found their money gone!

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