73-year-old man confronts a knife-wielding thief, chases him away
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73-year-old man confronts a knife-wielding thief, chases him away

January 18, 2022

Family recalls the horror in Kodagu Estate house 

Ponnampet: Who says age matters? In a rare display of bravery and grit, an elderly couple fought off a knife-wielding robber in South Kodagu. Despite repeated attempts by the robber to harm them, the elderly couple put up a brave fight throughout, protecting themselves and attacking the miscreant, driving him away from their house. In the scuffle, the elderly man sustained a deep gash wound inflicted by the assailant.

Now, the assaulter (whose name is not yet revealed by the Police) who according to the Police is a drug addict, has been arrested and the family is waiting for justice to be delivered. The incident occurred at Nalkeri village in South Kodagu at the estate house of Sullimada Gopal Thimmaiah, a coffee planter and former President of Ponnampet Kodava Samaja. He is also serving as one of the Directors of Coorg Institute of Technology, Ponnampet.

Gopal is a prominent personality in South Kodagu and is actively involved in social work. The attack on him shocked all those who knew him and people living in nearby areas. Recalling the incident, Gopal and his family regretted how drugs can spoil a young man who is educated and who took to crime to fulfil his vices.

On Dec. 28, 2021 afternoon, Gopal and his wife Parvathi had returned home after attending a death ceremony. After lunch, Gopal headed to his room with a newspaper and Parvathi sat on the dining table to read as it is their routine before taking rest. Their house is located on the Nalkeri-Srimangala Road and has two gates, one towards the road and the other near the house.

That day, both the gates were open as the family had gone out. The assailant entered the compound and reached the portico of the house. He barged into the house and crossed the hall. On seeing Parvathi on the dining table, he flashed his shining sharp ‘7’-shaped (curved) knife and signalled her to be quiet with one of his fingers on his lips.

A shocked Parvathi called Gopal out and he rushed out of his bedroom. Gopal asked him who he was and the robber again flashed the knife and signalled him to be quiet. Gopal picked up an old cane that is usually kept at a corner and beat the robber. Both fought with each other and as the assailant resisted, Gopal asked his wife to get a gun.

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Gusty couple fights back

Sensing trouble, the assaulter continued to push around Gopal and the latter, though 73 years old, fought with determination. After pushing Gopal down, the robber attacked Parvathi, who is 71, and Gopal rushed to her rescue. This went on for over 15 minutes and the couple refused to be cowed down.

The couple managed to push the armed robber out of the house, across three rooms. Outside too, the robber pushed Gopal and swung his knife in a cross direction. The sharp weapon cut Gopal’s wrist and caused a deep gash. “Seeing the blood, I got scared and my wife told the robber that she would give the money and asked him to go out. The assailant just uttered three words: ‘gaaya’ (wound), ‘raktha’ (blood) and ‘duddu’ (money). He later walked out of the gate as if nothing had happened,” Gopal told Star of Mysore.

Gopal managed to contact his brother’s son Col. Dilan Bheemaiah, who is a doctor and who had come to the village on leave and took first- aid before being hospitalised where the wounds were sutured. Hearing the news, Gopal’s elder son S.T. Ponnappa, an engineer who works in Bengaluru, contacted his cousins and neighbours in Kodagu and they rushed to Gopal’s house.

“The assailant was wearing a full face mask and also hand gloves. As such, his fingerprints were not available. The Police had even got the dog squad but as many people had already moved inside the house, the canines could not catch the culprit’s scent. The Police teams acted quickly and arrested the assailant. He was brought to my house and though the Police did not show his face, my wife and I recognised him the moment we saw his eyes,” Gopal said. All his physical features matched.

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Setting an example

Gopal’s son Ponnappa said he was happy that his elderly parents managed to fight off an armed criminal. “It is a big achievement and would not be possible in any common incident. My parents fought and their lives were saved. The robber’s intention was foiled and ultimately he was caught. If he was not resisted, he would continue his robbing spree. I feel that no one should fear. Age is just a number and if you want to fight you can fight at any age and my parents have proved it,” he said.

Soon after the incident, fear psychosis gripped the village and no one was ready to come out of their homes, fearing attacks. “Even our family feared another attack. Fortunately, he was arrested and I am sure the Police would ensure that he is punished. Dy.SP Jayakumar and Inspector Manjappa have handled the case well. We have faith in the system and in fact, my dad’s brother late S.P. Kushalappa retired as ACP,” Ponnappa said.

Drugs influencing youth

Looking back at the crime, Gopal Thimmaiah said that it was sad that some youths in Kodagu were getting into drugs and to fulfil their vices, they are taking to crime. “The assailant is educated and he could have got into any profession to lead a decent life. Instead, drugs forced him to take this path and he has ruined his life. It is a sad development for society,” he rued.

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