Delhi woman’s distress email to British PM sends police into a tizzy; she is rescued from Rohini in 2 hours

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Published on Aug 27, 2020 10:58 PM IST
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ByKarn Pratap Singh, New Delhi

A “distress email” from a Delhi woman to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday night (Indian time), seeking his urgent help and threatening to kill herself if help did not reach her in two hours, send the Delhi Police into a tizzy, with officers acting swiftly to locate and rescue her.

The sensitive nature of her email had Johnson’s office contacting the Indian High Commission in London, which in turn alerted the external affairs ministry (MEA) in Delhi. The ministry wasted no time in passing on the information to the Delhi Police, seeking their “immediate intervention” in saving the woman’s life, officers privy to the matter said.

The Delhi Police launched a “door-to-door search operation” and within two hours, they managed to trace her location to a house in Rohini’s Sector 21 from where she was rescued, the police said.

“The woman was found living in an unhygienic condition and it looked like her house had not been cleaned in years. The woman was of poor mental health possibly due to breakdown of her marriage and a huge financial burden from past loans,” deputy commissioner of police (Rohini) Pramod Kumar Mishra said.

DCP Mishra said on Wednesday around 11pm -- it was around 6.30pm in London -- the 42-year-old woman sent the email to Johnson, seeking his urgent help and sounding to be in an extremely distressed state of mind. She further said that “if help is not met in the next two hours, she would commit suicide”.

“The Indian high commission in London immediately contacted the MEA officials in India and sought their quick response as the woman’s life appeared to be at stake. Subsequently, the information reached Aman Vihar police station from where 10 personnel were sent to locate her,” Mishra said.

The information sharing procedure from London to the Delhi Police involved multiple channels and took around 45 minutes. The 10-member Aman Vihar police team took around an hour to locate her, said a police officer, requesting anonymity.

Asked how the woman got Johnson’s email address, DCP Mishra said, “She is being counselled. As and when we get this information, we will share it.”

An officer, who was part of the rescue team, said the rescue was difficult as they only had her name and an incomplete address to go by. The team had to undertake a door-to-door search. All the while, police kept trying the phone number mentioned in the email, but there was no answer.

“With the help of local security guards and residents, we reached the building where the woman lived alone on the third floor. However, despite our repeated persuasions, the woman did not open the door. So, we called in a team from the fire department and while they were about to break open the door, she opened it,” the officer said.

DCP Mishra said the woman looked fraught with anxiety and fear.She requested the rescue team to leave and told them that “she was okay”. Obliging her, only a few officers stayed back while the others left. Thereafter, the officers counselled her and went inside the house to find some 16-18 cats roaming around, he said.

During the course of counselling, the officer said, the woman told them that she used to teach at a municipal school but resigned because of personal reasons. The woman also spoke of her divorce, almost a decade ago, and her financial crisis.

“It appears that the stress of the financial burden took a toll on her mental health. We called in two psychologists and a doctor to address her problems and advise us if we should obtain the requisite assent to shift her to the Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences for further treatment,” DCP Mishra said.

A police officer said the woman is currently at her home and is being counselled. Her house has also been cleaned, the officer said.

No other official comment was forthcoming on the matter.

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