The 16-year-old junior college student from Thane had fled to Thiruvananthapuram after failing in five of six subjects
The efforts of Thane Crime Branch’s child protection unit proved successful when a 16-year-old Std XI student, who had fled to Thiruvananthapuram two weeks ago after failing five subjects, returned home on Monday night.
Joyal Kochik Edigula and his mother Sossama (centre) with the child protection officers who persuaded him to return
Joyal Kochik Edigula, who lives in Thane’s Balkum area with his parents and is an FYJC (Science) student at Baptist High School and Junior College, had fled to the Kerala capital, which is close to their native village, on January 25. Cops identified his location by tracking his mobile phone but had trouble contacting him as he used to switch it off often.
When they finally got through, they counselled him and told him that he won’t be scolded or beaten for his academic failure and asked him to return home. The child protection officers — Assistant Sub-Inspector A A Shaikh and Police Constable Ajay Farate — counselled the minor. “We counselled him to come back and take help from psychiatrists. We helped him understand that this was the first time he had failed in five subjects and he hasn’t lost the year. He can study well for the upcoming final exams and achieve good marks. We also assured him that his parents will not shout at him but encourage him,” said Farate.
When he went 'missing'
On January 25, Joyal left home to go to college at 1 pm as usual, but when he hadn’t come back by 9.30 pm, his parents informed the police. “He told his mother that he was going to college and would return by 7 pm, like every day. But when he got late and wasn’t reachable on his phone, his parents enquired about him in the neighbourhood and then approached the Kapurbawadi police station on January 26 to register a kidnapping case,” said Police Sub-Inspector Rajeev More, child protection unit, Thane Crime Branch. A case under Section 363 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code was registered.
Joyal boarded a train from Thane railway station to Thiruvananthapuram without a ticket. He had R240, which he used to survive on vada pav and street food while roaming the streets of the city.
Speaking to mid-day, his mother Sossama said he is a brave student and had secured 64 per cent in SSC. “In the present semester, he only passed in English out of six subjects. He feared that we would scold him, so he left. I used to tell him to study, but he rarely ever opened his books,” said Sossama, adding that after returning home, Joyal said he didn’t want to study further.