Emotions ran high at sector 49 police station in Noida as parents of children who had gone missing searched among the tattered clothes and other belongings that the police had fished out of the drain in front of D-5, in sector 31.
Each was looking for clues which they were hoping of not finding among the pile that the police had kept for identification of bodies. “This one is not of my child,” women could be heard repeating every time they came across a piece of cloth. Cries pierced the silence at regular interval as parents found a piece of cloth that their children once wore.
Twenty-four-year-old James Thapa burst out crying as he picked a blue stripped spaghetti top, which his 11-year-old daughter Nisha was wearing the day she went missing. “She had gone missing on May 21. She used to accompany me to the eatery I had recently opened. On that day I left early for the shop, while she was to come a few minutes later. She never came,” Thapa said. His wife had delivered a baby boy on December 17 and is still recuperating from the caesarean operation when Thapa broke the news to her: that their missing daughter was now confirmed dead.
Thirty-two-year-old Soniya Aslam kept staring at the red undergarment. “I made my son, Sheikh Raja (9), wear it the day he went missing. It was a Saturday and was a school holiday,” she blabbered. Raja went missing about a year back, when he was playing outside with friends. The accused, Surendra Koli, has not yet confessed to killing the nine-year-old. But his clothes might prove that he was one of the many victims of the serial killer.
Many parents, who did not find anything in the pile, looked on with relief.
Rita Haldar was in denial and kept sobbing. She had found a pair of slippers that her 12-year-old daughter Deepali once wore. “It can’t be hers,” is all that she could manage to say.
She was wrong.