Sunday, September 12, 2010

Boy reunited with family 4 months after ball hunt carried him away

A missing seven-year-old boy has been reunited with his family four months after he accidentally kicked his football inside a freight carriage and then got trapped on the moving train as he tried to get it back. Mohammed Fazlu was playing close to the railway tracks when a kick sent his ball aboard a train. He scarmbled to get it but before he could jump down, the train pulled away and carried him hundreds of miles from his home in Bangalore. He was discovered by railway police at a station in India's Vellore district, in Tamil Nadu, 800 miles from where he lived.

Local child welfare officials put him in a home for runaways while they began a search for his family, but could find no trace of his neighbourhood or relatives in Mumbai, where Mohammed claimed to be from. Ruby Nakka, the Child Welfare Committee member who led the search, said Mumbai police could find no record of a Mohammed Fazlu having been reported missing. His first clue came when carers at the home noticed he could speak Kanadda, an Indian language spoken in the Indian state of Karnataka, and common in and around Bangalore. Despite the boy's insistence that he was from "Bombay", his carers began to doubt his story and expanded their search to Karnataka. There too there was no report of a missing child matching his name or description.

Eventually officials invited local television channels to join their search for the boy's family and got an almost instant result. Mohammed's three year old brother Roshan Zameer was watching the television when he called out to his parents that Mohammed "had climbed inside the television and was speaking from inside". They rushed in, saw their older son on the screen and contacted the authorities. The family shared an emotional reunion on Thursday in time to celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr festival which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

According to Mr Nakka, the boy's insistence that he was from "Bombay" had hampered their work, while his parents' failure to report him missing to the police had made the search almost impossible. "When I asked his father why they had not reported his disappearance to police, he said 'you know what the police are like, they never help, and they ask for bribes.' I have some questions. If it was my son I would have contacted the police, even if I was illiterate or uneducated," he said. His father, Bashir, a motor mechanic, and his mother Dilshad, told local reporters they had suffered sleepless nights since his disappearance. Their reunion was a "joyous moment for us. We were shattered when he disappeared and looked for him in all the nearby regions of Bangalore. We decided to trace him ourselves and decided not to lodge a police complaint," said Bashir.


maithriim said...

Well, such is the trust on police by the poorer sections of the society :(

Anonymous said...

Nahi ye bala