LEAVE IT to God, police officials have been telling the parents of three-year-old Kahkasha Shaikh, who was kidnapped from a market in Shivaji Nagar in Greater Mumbai seven months ago.
The parents, Mohammad Sayeed Shaikh (28) and Bibi Khatun (24), have four daughters — Kahkasha being the youngest.
It is not as if the family did not try trusting God and the police. Khatun said they spent thousands on godmen, tantriks and maulanas. She also claimed they gave policemen Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 for search operations that yielded nothing.
The family, which resides on the mezzanine floor of a 10-feet-by-10-feet room at a chawl (a four to five-storied building, with cheap tenements) at the Baiganwadi slums in Govandi on the borders of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, has now stopped visiting police stations.
“Two months ago, we stopped going to the police station,” said Khatun over the telephone from their village near Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. “Now, to find out whether somebody kidnapped Kahkasha out of personal enmity, we came here.”
“At first, the police used to send a constable with us for inquiry, but later they stopped it,” she said. “Whenever we visited them, the police would open the case file and tell us that in spite of their efforts, the child had not been found.”
The couple tried every possible means they could think of, and their meagre savings would allow, to trace their child. They made several trips to various hospitals, children’s homes, ashrams, orphanages, dargahs and even searched the footpaths of the city and its adjoining areas, including Pune and Nashik.
“We have been reduced to beggars and do not have enough money to sustain ourselves in Mumbai,” said Khatun. “As we spent most of our time looking for Kahkasha, now my husband does not even have a regular job and because of the worry, he has as not been keeping well either.”
She added that there was no money for their three school-going daughters’ education and the house rent.
Inspector Pandurang Ranpise of Shivaji Nagar police station said that “all formalities” had been completed in the case and “we have also investigated all the suspects”.
The officer said it appeared to be a case of kidnapping by somebody longing for a child since there had been no extortion calls made to the parents.
Tomorrow: Police know suspect, but not child’s whereabouts