Five staffers of the Hindustan Times Media Ltd’s Patna office were returning home at 1.30 am on Saturday. The journey began normally, but ended with the arrest of two abductors of a minor girl after a night-long chase. A first-person account by Salil Kumar and Rana Pratap:
It was early morning of Saturday.
We crammed into a Tata Sumo to go to Kankerbag in the eastern part of the city, where most of us live. As we raced past the hungry stray dogs and the city’s homeless, we suddenly heard cries coming out from a lane, called Amruddi Gali, where some of the city’s top doctors and litterateurs live.
Our driver Awadhesh screeched to a halt. We saw two women running towards us. They said, between sobs, that the daughter of one of them — about 14 years old and a student of Class IX — had been abducted sometime back.
We were six, but not equipped enough to handle the situation. Still, we couldn’t leave the two ladies at the middle of the road.
We traced our way back first to the railway station and then to the bus terminus, as directed by them. And alerted all the patrolling vehicles and outposts along the way. It seemed nobody had noticed anything.
Time was running out. But our colleagues from Dainik Hindustan, Mahendra Jha, Vivekanand Thakur and Prahad Mishra and driver Awadhesh refused to call off the search.
Finally, we reached the Kadamkuan police station, where we met the Senior Superintendent of Police of Patna, Mallar Vizhi. We told her about our ordeal.
She listened to us calmly and the assured the ladies, “Abhi izzat kya dekhna hai, beti ko bachana hai (It’s not the time to think about social stigma, we have to save the girl).”
She got into her vehicle and started the search all over again. Soon, a patrol car detained three people on a motorcycle. A girl, without her shoes on, had been found seated between two young men.
The girl was finally brought before SSP Vizhi and was identified by her mother. The chase ended. By that time, it was morning.