For a couple from Uttar Pradesh a fun-filled trip to the national capital for shopping for their daughter's sixth birthday turned into a harrowing experience after she got lost in the crowded and cramped Chandni Chowk market.
With bags of clothes and birthday decorations, the girl's parents went shop to shop enquiring about their daughter, finally reaching a police post where they sought help. "They were tense and in tears. We deployed our local network to find the girl and after a two-hour search, we finally traced her," said Head Constable Bharat recalling the December 7 incident. It was difficult to locate her amid the huge rush of shoppers, but not impossible, said Bharat, who is in touch with the family who celebrated the girl's birthday on Wednesday.
"They had invited me and my colleagues to attend her birthday party, but we have our duties here," said the head constable, who plans to visit the family in Uttar Pradesh's Kondri village soon along with his team from the Lahori Gate police station.
The details of the girl were sent on WhatsApp groups, comprising shopkeepers, police personnel and local institutions, he said, adding that the girl was found by members of the Shish Ganj Gurudwara in Chandni Chowk.
On December 7, the girl's father along with his wife, his three-year-old and six-month-old sons and two relatives had come to Chandni Chowk to shop for his daughter’s birthday, police said. They were going from shop to shop and when they reached near Vishal Mava Bhandar, they realised the girl was missing, according to police.
During their search, they reached a police booth, and told head constables Bharat and Bijender about the incident. The head constables were on beat duty and went into action on receiving details of the girl, they said. "The parents had given up hope...they were in tears," Bharat said, adding that they were consoled and asked to be patient.
Detailing the modus-operandi to trace the girl, police said details were sent on WhatsApp groups and announcements were also made on loudspeakers. Local shopkeepers and vendors were also involved. The girl was found in the marketplace after a two-hour search, police said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Sagar Singh Kalsi said that the Delhi Police has laid special emphasis on solving cases of human trafficking and tracing missing children. Police have taken a lot of effort in this direction, he said.
"Our police district has also started a missing persons cell which directly reports to senior officers of the district. The team also involves technical experts, who use the latest technology to trace missing children. We have also briefed our staff to be alert and immediately take action in such sensitive cases," Kalsi said.
Bharat said once information about the girl was received from the gurudwara, “I immediately contacted its representatives and asked them to share her photo”. "In the picture, she was seen having prasad. I could not contain my happiness. I asked her parents to show their daughter's picture again, and the family identified their child," he said.
"When we reached, we saw the girl sitting at the gurudwara and watching cartoons on a mobile phone," Bharat said. Some unknown person had left the girl there. But as soon as she saw her mother, she left everything and rushed towards her crying and hugged her. It was an emotional scene, he recalled.
-With PTI Inputs