For an 11-year-old boy, the Nirmal Nagar police station has been home for over 10 days now.
Everything from food to shelter is provided by the police and the boy returns the favour by doing odd jobs, such as helping with files and running over to the neighbourhood stalls to order tea or eatables for the officials.
The boy stays on the first floor, in the officers’ room.
As the investigating officer is out of station on work related to the case, there has been a delay in transferring the boy to the Dongri children’s remand home.
The police are facing difficulties tracing his parents and are now asking for media help to identify the boy and his parents or relatives.
The police said the boy forgets things within minutes, as if he were suffering from short-term memory loss.
They said he cannot properly remember many things and, after some time, forgets what he has said.
The 11-year-old was found by some locals near the Bandra railway terminus on October 8 and taken to the Nirmal Nagar police station.
The investigating officer took custody of the child and asked him where he had come from. The boy replied that his name was Arif and that he was from UP.
Next, the boy told the police he had been living in the city for the past two years. Asked where in the city he was living, he could not say anything.
Then, he said he was with his uncle, whose name he did not remember, and got lost in a crowd.
“The boy has very weak memory and sometimes he even forgets his name,” a police official said. “It is getting very difficult to investigate the case.”
The boy has police personnel for company all the time, even having his lunch, dinner and breakfast with them. When the officials are at
work, the boy helps them
by doing small tasks like passing files from one officer to another and ordering refreshments.
Senior Police Inspector Ramesh Khankale said the boy would be sent to the Dongri shelter in a few days.
“The boy has no clear memory of many things, which is hampering our efforts to track his parents,” Khankale said. “The investigating officer will be back in Mumbai in a few days, after which he (the boy) will be sent to the Dongri children’s remand home. Till that time he will stay in the police station. If anybody knows the boy, they should come forward to take his custody.”