Memories of a road or a tree, social media photos: How Thane Police helped reunite 2,302 missing kids with families

The fleeting reminiscences of a banyan tree, imprecise recollections of the identify of a road and the recollection of their dad and mom working in a brick kiln are among the many path of clues that has helped the Thane Police reunite 2,302 missing youngsters with their families since 2018.

An administrative determination made by the Thane Police in mid-2014, to begin a Child Protection Unit (CPU), is now paying dividends as 2,302 youngsters have been reunited with their dad and mom since 2018.

“As per the Supreme Court’s guidelines, we register a case of kidnapping after a minor goes missing. It is investigated by police station personnel, but if they fail to locate the child in the next four months, then the case is transferred to the Anti-Human Trafficking Cell of Crime Branch. And for every missing minor’s case which is transferred to AHTC, CPU conducts a parallel probe, which has majorly helped us in reuniting the children with their families,” stated a senior IPS officer.

In one case, two siblings, one 10 years previous and the opposite 8, fled from their home in Dahisar in December 2018 after a tiff with their father. They have been present in Vashi by the Government Railway Police and despatched to a youngsters’s residence in Ulhasnagar in January 2019.

As the 2 have been unable to share their tackle, CPU officers of Thane Police have been contacted. While speaking to the kids, the one data that the police may handle to get from them was that they have been natives of a village referred to as Belwa which had a distinguished banyan tree. While there are a lot of villages named Belwa in India, the police personnel, whereas speaking to the kids, guessed that they is perhaps from Uttar Pradesh.

“By chance, we got to know that a team from Ambernath police station had gone to Belwa to investigate some other crime. I roped them in to help us out,” stated Assistant Police Inspector Sheetal Madhne.

Armed with photos of the 2 youngsters, the Ambernath police crew scoured varied hamlets within the area, looking for a banyan tree. Three days later, the crew managed to search out the kids’s uncle, who informed the police that the minors used to reside in Dahisar with their father, who labored as a driver.

With this data, the police managed to reunite the household in December 2020.

In yet one more case, an eight-year-old boy may solely present the identify of the road on which his home was situated. “These children do not remember the exact address… there are certain keywords they tell us with the help of which we try to trace their parents,” stated an officer, including, “Many a times, the children misguide us by telling us that their parents are no more or they don’t remember anything.”

Accordingly, police appeared for a 90 ft road on the web and learnt that there are two 90 ft roads, in Kalwa and Dharavi. The CPU officers initially appeared for his dad and mom in Kalwa, however couldn’t discover them. They then checked with Dharavi Police, the place a case of kidnapping had been registered on May 8, 2017.

“We then contacted the parents and showed them his pictures. After they identified the boy, he was handed over to them on December 15,” stated Madhne.

Similarly, the reminiscence of a brick kiln was a essential lead given by an eight-year-old lady, who went missing from her residence on December 5 final year.

“We contacted the police station at Ambernath, Badlapur, Kulgaon and Titwala, and the location where bricks are made in huge quantities, and came to know that a kidnapping case was registered at Shahapur police station,” stated an officer.

The police acquired in contact with the lady’s dad and mom and she or he was handed over to them.

Sometimes, circulating photographs of missing individuals on social media additionally helped police in reuniting them with their household.

On January 4, a 22-year-old mentally ailing individual, who went missing 5 years in the past, was situated in a particular youngsters’s residence in Dhule and reunited with his father, after a volunteer within the NGO noticed his image and recognized him. He was 17 then and had gone missing from his Bhiwandi residence. Subsequently, a case of kidnapping was registered with Narpoli police station.

“He was initially lodged in a children’s home in Thane, but over the years, he was transferred from one children’s home to another, and at last he was found in Dhule,” stated Madhne.

The officers stated that they had initially appeared for him at railway stations, bus stops and totally different youngsters’s properties throughout Thane, Navi Mumbai and Mumbai, however to no avail. His father would additionally carry a picture of his son and roam round, inquiring about him.

“We again circulated his picture in the last week of December on different WhatsApp groups, of which several NGO workers, officials from children’s home, police and childline workers are members of. We then got a lead that he is in Solapur, but we could not find him there, so through the numbers obtained from Solapur-based children’s home, we contacted other children’s home in Dhule, when a volunteer there identified him,” stated Madhne, “We then contacted his father, who had gone to his native place in Uttar Pradesh, and handed him over.”


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