10 days on, runaway 13-yr-old still missing

Of the several thousands of people who land up in Mumbai, there were three boys, all of 13 years, who came to the city. On October 8, Prabhat Nautiyal, Sumit Chamoli and Rahul Joshi, left for school from their homes in a village in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. They had Rs 2,400 in cash with them, given by their parents to pay the school fees. But instead of going to school, the boys boarded a train to Bandra Terminus and came to the city on October 9.

Finding Prabhat: Prabhat’s uncle Shekhar Mishra shows his picture (inset). Pics/RonakK Savla

A week later, Chamoli and Joshi returned to their village in Uttarkashi, but Prabhat, who got lost in a crowded local train, is still missing. “We have looked for him at the railway mortuary, various NGOs, and shelter homes, but there is no trace of him. We have been staying at railway stations with the hope to see him soon,” said Prabhat’s father Dhirendra, who is in town to look for his son. He arrived in the city with his brother-in-law, Shekhar Mishra. Dhirendra, who is a farmer, added, “We live in a hilly area. My son had never climbed down the hills without my permission. This is the first time he stepped out. I am very worried for him. I hope he is fine.” 

The two boys who returned home told the Dehradun police that after leaving their houses, they took a cab to Dehradun railway station. They then boarded a train to Bandra Terminus the next day, October 9. The boys said they met a person named Harish in the train, who took them around the city. After roaming for a while at Juhu Chowpatty, the boys took a local train from Andheri to Panvel, and that’s when Prabhat got lost in the crowd. On the same day, the boys boarded a train for Dehradun and upon reaching there, informed the police about the incident. The police took them back to their homes.

Prabhat’s uncle Shekhar Mishra, who works in Delhi, said, “There are some discrepancies in the statements given by the two boys. They are possibly hiding some facts. They will be coming to Mumbai today with a team from the Dehradun police, to tell us the exact sequence of events. Only then will we have a clearer picture of what exactly happened.”  

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