Mumbai: Virar 'kidnapper' turns out to be toddler's grandfather

Sep 04, 2017, 21:20 IST | Samiullah Khan

Senior citizen's family got furious with the Virar siblings who posted image of 'shabbily' dressed man with 'well-dressed' child on social media, believing he was an abductor; seeks public apology

The photos of the old man and kid that went viral

Judging a book by its cover proved costly for siblings from Virar. Believing an old man, who was playing with a child in a park was a kidnapper, a young woman took pictures of the pair, while her brother posted the images on social media and informed the police. It turned out the man was the child's grandfather.

Last week, Hinali Raut, 23, and her friend Harshita Pimple, 23, were in the Global City area of Virar when they spotted an unkempt elderly man with a child. To them, the two seemed like strangers. Pimple said, "We found the elderly man's body language weird. When he spotted us, he took the toddler into his arms and tried to cover his face. That got us suspicious. We were afraid for the child and took a video of him and later informed Hinali's brother, Himanshu."

Himanshu, 27, said, "They called me asking what they should do. I suggested they take a photo and keep an eye on him so that I could give the information to the police. I sent the photo to the police, who later made inquiries and found that the man was the child's grandfather. I realised we had made a huge mistake and wish to apologise to the family."

Tanvi Davane, the daughter of the senior citizen identified as Anil Chauhan, 70, said the incident had traumatised her father. "On Thursday, my father had taken my one-year-old son Dhruvit to the garden and was playing with him. Some people suddenly started hovering around them, so he got nervous, picked Dhruvit up and walked away," she said.

"We did not know that his photo had been taken, and it had gone viral, attracting negative comments from social media users. He has not left the house since and speaks about suicide. We tried to make him understand that it was a mistake, but he says his reputation has been tarnished," she added.

Harshita Pimple, Hinali Raut and her brother Himanshu
Harshita Pimple, Hinali Raut and her brother Himanshu

The family wants a public apology from the siblings.

"My father was labelled a kidnapper on social media and it has caused him grief. We will go to court if the brother and sister do not apologise to us personally, and publicly," she said.

Hinali said, "I regret my actions, but it was done in good faith. I did not intend to hurt anyone and I deeply apologise for that."

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