A 12-year-old Indian boy who was kidnapped from New Delhi and taken to neighbouring Bangladesh six years ago finally returned home on Thursday to be reunited with his parents.
Sonu, who goes by one name, landed at Delhi airport escorted by security guards and officials and gripping his father’s hand as his mother clutched him from behind.
“I have found my son and I am very happy now. Would like to thank (foreign minister) Sushma Swaraj,” his father Mehboob told reporters.
Officials have not revealed details of his abduction ordeal but local media reported Sonu was kidnapped by a tenant living in his parent’s Delhi house in 2010 before being trafficked across the border.
A Bangladesh mechanic alerted Indian officials after speaking with Sonu whom he reportedly found being exploited and forced to do household chores by his trafficker in southwestern Jessore.
“She used to make me work and beat me,” Sonu was quoted as saying by Bangladeshi online news portal bdnews24.com earlier this week.
The boy was later transferred to a children’s home as Bangladesh and India worked to have him repatriated.
Foreign affairs minister Swaraj said on Tuesday that DNA samples taken from the boy matched those of his mother.
Images showed Swaraj hugging a smiling Sonu at her New Delhi office as he and his mother touched the minister’s feet in a gesture of respect and gratitude.
In a similar case last year, a mute and deaf Indian woman who strayed into Pakistan more than a decade ago finally returned to her home country.
She was hopeful of being reunited with her long-lost family after identifying them in photographs delivered by Indian officials in Pakistan.
But in a tragic twist just hours after she had arrived in Delhi, the woman, Geeta, said she could not recognise the family she thought was hers.