A week has passed since the helpless Sharma family has been scouring every corner of the city in search of their 16-year-old albino son.
The day news of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s death broke and plunged the city into a shutdown, Ashwin Sharma left his home in Chembur around 12.30 pm and proceeded towards Sion for private tuition classes.
His mother called him up on his mobile phone around 3 pm and he answered saying that he was just about to reach his tuition class and he disconnected the call. When he failed to return home at 5 pm as he usually did, his frantic parents tried calling his mobile phone again, but found it was switched off. They began to panic and informed all their relatives, after which they began searching for Ashwin at every possiblelocation.
“He spoke to his mother around 3 pm saying that he was about to reach his tuition centre. When he didn’t return home at the usual time, we started calling his mobile number, but the number was switched off,” Prem Sharma, Ashwin’s father said.
The family felt that Ashwin may have joined a group heading towards Matoshree and even hunted for him in the crowd gathering there. Their efforts lasted hours, but were in vain.
“I have a feeling my son went along with a crowd somewhere, and does not know the way back home. He must have gone with some group to Matoshree or Shivaji Park,” Sharma said.
Ashwin is an albino and is not able to see very well during daylight hours. “We gave him a mobile phone because he was scared of crossing the road near our house in Chembur. He used to phone us and then someone would go and help him across the road. His mother has not eaten anything since he went missing,” Sharma said.
After searching for Ashwin all through Saturday night and through most of Sunday, his father approached the Trombay police station and filed an FIR.
The family claims that though they have given pictures of their son and other details to various police stations, no investigation has been initiated and the police have not made any effort to track their son’s location using his mobile phone. “They [police] said that usually a missing person comes back within 15 days and they would only start further investigations after that,” Sharma alleged.
When asked whether he enquired at Ashwin’s tuition centre about his whereabouts, Sharma said that he just learnt that his son had not attended classes on Friday as well.
When MiD DAY contacted Sanjay Atmaram Khire, senior inspector, Trombay police station, he said, “We are investigating the matter and as soon as we get any information, we will inform the family.”