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'Despite lamps all around me, there is darkness in my life'

On the day of Diwali, while everyone around them was celebrating the festival of light, Devdas and Jasmine Naik, who lost their child on October 24, were busy putting up posters declaring a prize money for anybody who gives them information about their baby. The poster also has a picture of the baby’s only identifying mark, a T-shaped dimple on his chin.

Jasmine Naik, newborn child
Awaiting his safe return: A poster of the Naik’s newborn child, announcing a reward of Rs 5 lakh for anyone who steps forward with information regarding the baby. (Above) Jasmine Naik at the hospital

Jasmine is adamant on staying at her ward in Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity hospital for as long as it takes till her baby is found. While the police are trying to trace the kidnapper and the baby, friends and family are helping them put up the posters. Jasmine believes that with these efforts, there is still hope for her to get the baby back.

“Despite many lamps and lanterns being lit in front of my eyes there is complete darkness in my life”, said Jasmine, who told MiD DAY that she had planned a grand celebration for Dussehra and Diwali this year. She said, “When it is Diwali, the atmosphere in our house changes completely. We celebrate every festival with grandeur and during Diwali, it is our house that is lit with most number of lamps in our entire locality.” This year as Jasmine was expecting a baby, Jasmine’s family had a splendid Diwali celebration planned a month before.

Jasmine hugs a photograph of her baby while lying on her bed and eagerly awaits the phone call that would provide her with some information. Jasmine said, “I keep looking at my phone throughout the day for a call or message about my baby. We have put up these posters declaring a reward of Rs 5 lakh so that anybody who is in need of money will surely come forward to give us any information about our child.”

Abhishek Mhapankar, Jasmine’s brother said, “We have printed 15,000 copies of posters and put them up at several locations like railway stations, bus depots and trains. We have divided areas accordingly and are also distributing these posters among people. Police officials have also encouraged us with our efforts.” Jasmine’s family members say that relatives of other patients in the ward have been coming in with gifts and sweets for their loved ones. They had plans of distributing sweets in the entire locality and Abhishek, who works with an event management company had already planned a grand decoration and a celebration party. While yesterday marked 3 weeks from the day of the kidnapping, there is no trace of the kidnapper or the baby. 

Background
Jasmine Naik (28) gave birth by C-section on October 23. The next evening, she left her baby boy in her bed and was walking between the adjacent beds when someone stole the child. Jasmine now refuses to be discharged from the hospital until the baby is found. The Bhoiwada police had released sketches of the kidnapper, but no leads have emerged so far.

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