As Central government’s efforts have failed to pacify Kashmiris over the unrest in the Valley, a ‘teen diplomat’ in the form of a Class 10 student believed he could help Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tide over the crisis.
Hoping to meet Modi over Kashmir turmoil and jawans in the Valley, the 14-year-old, a history buff, left home on the pretext of going to school on August 10 . With Rs2,000 in his pocket, the boy, Nirmal Wagh, boarded a night train to New Delhi,but was deboarded in Surat by the ticket collector for travelling without ticket.
A pani puri vendor took pity on him and had given him shelter at his house for five days. During his stay in Surat, the boy used the vendor’s phone to give a missed call to his friend in Vasai. The phone call helped the police trace Nirmal who was reunited with his family on Independence Day.
From Wagh Wada, Prabhuali, in Vasai (West), Nirmal stays with his father, Prasanna, 48, who works as a clerk for the education department, BMC, in Dadar. His mother died a few months ago due to an ailment.
Machinda Mainkar, a family friend,who helped Prasanna in tracing the boy, said, Nirmal is a bright student and studies in MG Parulekar School,Vasai.
Disturbed with the current unrest in Kashmir, Nirmal decided to first meet Modi and talk about the crisis, then visit Indian Army jawans stationed in the Valley, Mainkar said. He also had plans to go to the Wagah border, the family friend said.
Nirmal boarded the Golden Temple Mail from Mumbai Central at 4pm.
When his son did not return till late night, Prasanna registered a kidnapping case against unidentified people with the Vasai Gaon police, said police inspector Sampatrao Patil.
After being deboarded from the train in Surat, Nirmal confide in Karan Singh, a pani purivendor, that he wanted to meet PM Modi. Sing took pity on him and allowed him to stay in his house, the police said.
Restless, Nirmal’s relatives had circulated 1.5 lakh WhatsApp messages for help.
On August 14 night, the inspector, the father and the friend drove to Surat (nearly 300 km from Vasai) and reached the city and headed to the police station, where we saw Nirmal in a scared state as he feared his father would hit him,but Prasanna was in tears on seeing his only son. We had to reach the Surat police station before 0500 hours as it was Independence Day,and all police personnel had to attend the I-Day parade beginning from 0900 hours that day,said Mainkar.
We have reunited the boy with Prasanna and are pleased that the boy was safe,said PI Patil. We will not press any charges of kidnapping against Karan Singh as he had kept the boy in safe custody, said the inspector.
“Usually, we have a negative image of the police, but this act of the police reuniting the boy with the father is exemplary. I thank sub-inspector Ashwini Bhagat of Vasai Gaon police station,” Mainkar said.