Neerja Bhanot’s courage must have been a source of inspiration for many people across the world. Mitali Shah, an employee of UCO bank in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, is one of them. Mitali showed immense courage and stood strong in the face of what she knew to be wrong, when somebody tried to rob the bank on February 20.
Not only did she prevent the robbery, but also saved the lives of her co-workers by being fearless. When asked about her inspiration behind taking take such a courageous step, she said it was Neerja.
It was Saturday and the bank was relatively empty when the robber walked in. There were just three female employees and two customers. Mitali was in charge of the cash counter. The robber entered with a helmet on, and seeing that there were only a few people in the bank, he took his revolver and pointed it at Mitali’s forehead. He then told the other employees to remain in their places, and asked Mitali to hand him the cash.
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“I was shocked as he pointed the gun and asked me to put the cash in the bag. I started collecting the cash and told him to put the gun down” she told India Times.
But the initial fear and shock of being at gunpoint soon wore off. Mitali mustered her courage, faced the robber, and told him that she won’t give the money. He could shoot if he wanted to. Seeing her courage, the other two employees also gained strength and one of them pressed the siren. The robber panicked as soon as the siren rang and the police and bank officials were informed.
The three women and their bravery has been recognised and appreciated by the bank management. Mitali, along with the other two employees, will be awarded the Tilu Rauteli Award by the State Government. Named after the famous Garhwali woman warrior, Tilu Rauteli, who fought against Katyuri army for seven years, the award is given by Uttarakhand’s women and child development department for extraordinary achievements.
“I don’t know from where the courage came but there was only one thing in my mind – either I would lose my life or everybody will be saved”, she said.