Army jawan from Maharashtra searches desperately for missing wife and baby; meets CM for help
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Army jawan from Maharashtra searches desperately for missing wife and baby; meets CM for help

Anil Gondge, who hails from the state’s Parbhani district, is unhappy with the way the case is being handled by police officials in Arunachal Pradesh; CM Devendra Fadnavis reaches out to Centre

mumbai Updated: Oct 20, 2017 08:06 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Army jawan Anil Gondge’s wife and one-year-old daughter went missing from Arunachal Pradesh, where he is currently posted, on September 20.

Anil Gondge, an Indian Army jawan from Maharashtra’s Parbhani district, is running from pillar to post trying to find his wife Swapna, 33, and one-year-old daughter Ara, who went missing from Arunachal Pradesh, where he is posted, a month ago.

Swapna had stepped out with their one-year-old to visit a temple and never came back, said Gondge, who is disappointed with the investigation conducted by the local police and has approached Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for help.

The 37-year-old is serving as Naik in the Army’s 23rd field regiment and is posted at Tenga valley, a small town situated in West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh.

On September 20, Swapna left with their baby to go to the Nag mandir and then do some shopping at the nearby market. However, in the evening when Gondge returned to his quarters, his six-year old son Om told him that they had not returned. Gondge began by looking for her in the neighbouring quarters. Soon after, senior officers of the regiment were informed about her disappearance, and his colleagues organised a search.

Finding no trace of them, Gondge filed a missing persons complaint at Rupa police station. During investigations, it was found that Swapna had been seen at an army post two km away from their quarters. The jawans at the post had asked Swapna to take a lift from an Omni car driver as it was raining and she was carrying a baby. The entire incident was captured on the CCTV cameras installed at the post, Gondge told HT.

The Omni driver was interrogated and said that he had dropped the woman and baby at the temple and didn’t know anything more. “We searched all the nearby railway stations and also put up posters at important locations. It’s almost a month now, and I still don’t know where my wife and daughter are,” said the jawan in grief.

Significantly, ever since her disappearance, Gondge and his father-in-law have been getting calls from a number that the police have not yet tracked down. “This number is the only lead we have. On many occasions, we have got calls from the same number, but no one speaks from the other end. Despite my repeated requests, the police have not tracked down the number,” he said. “I am really disappointed that a serving Army jawan is getting such a treatment.”

Tired of chasing police officials, Gondge approached Dhananjay Munde, leader of Opposition in Maharashtra legislative council, who took him to meet the CM on Tuesday. Fadnavis, in turn, has got in touch with Union minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir, who has assured him that an officer would be appointed to investigate the matter thoroughly. Ahir has also asked Gondge to meet him in Delhi.

“It is sad that a jawan who is fighting for the country has had to face such a situation. The governments are not showing sufficient seriousness in dealing with the matter. I am hoping that the Maharashtra government and the Centre will pursue this case seriously,” said Munde.

First Published: Oct 19, 2017 14:04 IST