When kidnappers yanked Anant Gupta out of a maid’s arms on Monday, a ripple of sympathy arose in dingy homes of Nithari, five kilometers away from Noida’s plush Sector 15-A — after all, at least 15 families of this humble village have been locked in a desperate wait for their children for months now.
As the chase for Anant hit headlines, they watched in awe and envy They rejoiced when life re . turned, with Anant, to the Gup tas’ home. But a question remained: why cannot our children be brought back to us?
Poonam’s three-year-old son Harsh went missing on February 23 this year. “Since then, we have been making rounds of the police station but they do not listen to us.” Her husband Ram Kishan, a worker with the Noida Authority, is convinced his poverty is the reason for police inaction.
“Police treat us shabbily but they recover a rich man’s child within a few days. It shows that government is for the rich and not for poor people like us,” says a bitter Kishan.
Agrees Chhaya Lal, whose 10year-old daughter Jyoti was last seen on June 21. When Lal, who irons clothes to make a living, went to the police, he found no sympathy. "Police told me that you have sold your daughter. Why should I?” he asked.
Laxmi faced the same treatment when she went to the police after her daughter Rachna, 8, went missing on April 10. Rajwati, whose son Satinder went missing on April 27, and Sunil Biswas, a rickshaw-puller who has not seen his daughter Pushpa since April 19 have similar tales to share.
Not surprisingly, Anant Gupta’s abduction and rescue has made the village smart at the unfairness of it all. Usha Thakur, a social worker, has even written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh for justice.
What do the police have to say in their defence? SP (City) Saumitra Yadav, said, "A special team under the Circle Officer has been set up to work specifically on the recovery of these missing children. Recently teams had gone to other districts in search of the children."