Four kids from Asansol in West Bengal, who set out for Mumbai in the hope of meeting their idol - Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, have landed in a rescue home for juveniles in Gaya in Bihar.
Aged between eight and 10 years, the children were found loitering at the Gaya railway station around midnight on Friday by the government railway police personnel who promptly informed the Childline unit at Gaya.
“Around 12.45 am on Saturday, we received a call from the GRP office at the Gaya railway station about the four children. We went to the station and brought them to the rescue home,” said Rhea Kumari, co-ordinator of Childline, Gaya.
While counselling the children, the Childline functionaries learnt they were part of a larger group of kids which had boarded a Mumbai-bound train lured by the promise of the trip organisers they would meet SRK in Mumbai.
A GRP source said there is a suspicion that the children were being trafficked to Mumbai to work in factories and shops in Maharashtra.
“However, by the time the train reached Madhupur station (in Jharkhand), these four kids started to weep and were detrained at the Gaya railway station”, Kumari told HT, recounting what the kids had told her.
She said the children are from very poor families and had no idea about the people who weer taking them to Mumbai.
The children said they were from Kasaitola locality of Asansol. They claimed they were huge fans of Shah Rukh Khan. One said ‘Koyla’ (1997), starring Khan and Madhuri Dixit was his favourite movie. Another one said he was enamoured of Khan after seeing ‘Dilwale’ (2015).
Kumari said the children’s case would be presented soon for the consideration of the Gaya district child welfare committee, for instructions.
“Meanwhile, we are contacting the Childline office at Asansol with the request to help us locate the children’s parents,” she added.
Earlier, in February 2014, three Class 9 students of a leading Patna school, had an even more bizarre reason to head for Mumbai. The kids went missing after school hours. Surveillance of their mobile phones showed their location to be New Delhi.
Brought back to Patna, they told the police they had gone to catch fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, believed to be in Pakistan, and claim the reward on his head!