It is Children’s Day, but Noida is not celebrating. At Lotus Valley School which Anant, the kidnapped three-year-old son of Adobe CEO Naresh Gupta, attends, students and teachers joined their hands in prayer for the safe return of the toddler.
“We have been praying since yesterday right from the time we heard of Anant’s abduction. We are praying very quietly and just felt it is improper to celebrate when one of our children is missing. I have a very strong intuition that he will return home safe,” said Madhu Chandra, principal Lotus Valley School. Chandra said parents were also praying for his safety.
“We have been getting calls. Everybody feels it could happen to their child. We are all praying,” she added.
“Hum Children’s Day Anant ke ane ke baad manayenge. (We will celebrate only when Anant returns safe),” said a Class II student of the school.
Schools across Noida prayed for Anant’s safety. Sector 22 resident, five-year-old Mayank was also praying for Anant’s return. He seemed to know all about his kidnapping. “Use bure log utha kar le gaye hain. (Some bad people have kidnapped him,” he says.
Family and relatives of Anant, the kidnapped three-year-old, also held a prayer meeting at their home for the safe return of their child. Anant’s father, Naresh Gupta, returned to India from the US on Monday night.
The kidnapping has left parents across Noida shaken who now say this is a warning signal for the authorities to wake up and tighten the law and order situation in the area. Sector 11 resident Mandakini Gupta said this was an alarming situation for parents in Noida.
“I have a 12-year-old daughter, and the moment I heard the news that this three-year-old has been snatched from outside his home, my heart sank. I could imagine what Anant’s parents must be going through. We cannot even send our child to a school in the neighbourhood and feel safe about it anymore,” said Sharmishtha Gupta, a parent.
Three-year-old Anant was kidnapped on Monday morning while waiting for his school bus just a few meters away from his house in Noida's posh Sector 15-A. The family’s domestic help was escorting him.