Missing for 40 yrs, ex-rifleman from Manipur found on Mumbai streets, to be reunited with family
A video, posted in October, 2017, was spotted by Gambhir’s younger brother after which he wrote in to Imphal police, asking for help.mumbai Updated: Apr 16, 2018 20:51 IST
Forty years after he went missing from his home in Imphal, a former member of paramilitary Manipur Rifles has finally been traced to the streets of Mumbai — thanks to the police and a YouTube video.
Manipur Police got in touch with Khomdram Gambhir (66) on Sunday, and his family in Khumbong Mamang Leikai locality in Imphal West is excited to have him back. Two police officers from local Patsoi police station will leave for Mumbai on Tuesday while Gambhir’s younger brother Kullachandra, 57, and another family member will travel a day after.
Twitter user and political activist Angellica Aribam shared a picture of Gambhir with the Mumbai Police while another user, Atom Samarendra, helped identify the man, who was his neighbour in Khumbong. Samarendra also tweeted his phone number for the police to get in touch.
.@AngellicAribam tweeted video of a stranded man in Bandra to @MumbaiPolice While we secured him, @SamarendraAtom tweeted & identified him as Khomdram Singh from Manipur,missing since 40 yrs! Our Twitter team coordinated b/w Bandra & Patsoi Pstn to reunite Mr Singh with family 😊 pic.twitter.com/9zZhOmZF3p— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) April 16, 2018
The third among six siblings — three sisters and three brothers — Gambhir, a former rifleman, went missing in 1978. Separated from his wife three months after his marriage, Gambhir left home two months later without informing anyone. The family tried tracing him, but failed in its efforts. His brother Kullachandra’s wife Memcha and son Romen said that they heard about Gambhir recently from one of the villagers, Leichonbam Romen, who shared a video of the missing man in a local WhatsApp group.
On April 15, Kulachandra wrote in to Patsoi Police, requesting the cops for help, after he saw a video plea to trace his brother on YouTube. “I could not believe when a nephew of mine came running to me with a video footage of my brother. When I saw the video, I could not stop crying. I could neither sleep nor eat thereafter. I was very happy to know that he is alive. This is like waking up from a nightmare,” says Kulachandra.
Mr. Komdram Gamphir Singh, Age. 65yrs. Re-United by Active participation of @SamarendraAtom and @AngellicAribam and with the Path of wellknkwn @MumbaiPolice with the Guardian Angels like @DevenBhartiIPS and @PoliceWaliPblic and other delegates of Mumbai Police have achived This. pic.twitter.com/KIww97mWQ9— SOHAM PUSALKAR (@sohambikersboy) April 16, 2018
The video, posted on October 17, 2017, was shot by Twitter user Firoze Shakir who describes himself as a storyteller, who videotaped Gambhir more like a case study. “Children teased him on the streets calling him Nepali and he would abuse them and shout out that he was a Manipuri - an Indian, not a Nepali, reads the description of the video.
Shakir got to know Gambhir better with each passing day. “He would come to Bandra Bazar where I stay. He would visit the hooch joint there he would regale the public with old Hindi songs.”
Shakir, a street photographer, says he would provide Gambhir with either money or snacks. “He took a liking to me as I shot his pictures.
Gambhir was in the Army, but left and came back to his hometown after his father’s death to till the farms. Shortly after, a misunderstanding among the brothers led him to leave Manipur for Mumbai. “All that led Gambhir to become a hardcore alcoholic,” according to Shakir.
Aribam, who has deleted her original tweet, signed off with another one thanking the Mumbai Police for safeguarding the man.
Thanks @MumbaiPolice for locating the man and safeguarding him in your custody. His family will bring him back to Imphal after 40 years. Thanks everyone for your help.— Angellica Aribam (@AngellicAribam) April 15, 2018
I'm now deleting the original tweet. https://t.co/pEhDFHc7Jm
Twitter was full of praise for speedy action by Mumbai Police and Aribam:
A words of appreciation to Angellica is also due. Good work.— Good Governance (@sri9011) April 16, 2018
Awesome effort by Mumbai Police— Majid Kazi (@majidkazi40) April 16, 2018
Accolades to Mumbai police— anjali nikam (@anju7n) April 16, 2018