Posters warning mothers to be vigilant and not to leave their babies unattended line the walls of the primary health centre at Shivaji Nagar in Govandi on Tuesday, a day after two-month-old Shahid Ansari was kidnapped from the civic facility.
“I did see some poster, but could not read it as I am an illiterate,” said Munni Khatun, 27, Shahid’s mother, on Tuesday.
“My wife has stopped eating and is crying continuously,” said her husband, Mohammad Jabir Ansari, 30, a jari [embroidery] worker.
Khatun told Hindustan Times that she suspected that a woman, who got on the bus with her at Bainganwadi en route to the centre on Monday, was the one that kidnapped her child. “A burqa-clad woman, who was of my height and fatter than me, got onto the bus with a girl. She stood behind me and got off the bus after me. I think she was the one who stole Shahid,” said Khatun.
Khatun claimed that the woman stood behind her in the queue at the health centre to submit case papers. “After that I took Shahid to the doctor, who prescribed some medicines, and I stood in line to buy them. I left Shahid with his elder brother, eight-year-old Tahir. That was the last time I saw Shahid,” Khatun said.
The woman, Tahir told the police, gave him Rs 10 and asked him to fetch her paan from a nearby shop. “When Tahir said I would scold him, the woman told him she would take care of Shahid,” Khatun said.
“When Tahir returned, there was no sign of her. He ran to me and asked if I had seen her. That’s when I raised an alarm,” she said.
The staff at the centre searched the rooms and the surrounding area, but without luck. The police checked the case papers the woman submitted and found she had given a fictitious address.
The Shivaji Nagar health centre is one of two attached to BYL Nair Hospital. The centre, which provides services such as immunisation, family planning advice and guidance on HIV/AIDS, gets about 300 patients every day and has one guard. “After the VN Desai baby theft incident last month, we put up posters in hospitals and urban health centres warning people against abduction attempts,” said Dr Ravi Rananavare, dean, Nair Hospital.
However, most visitors at the centre cannot read the notices since they are illiterate.