Mumbai: Viral video reunites missing 90-yr-old with family after 4 months
When a Shivaji Park constable saw a viral video of a Solapur cop feeding an elderly homeless man, he recognised the person in the clip as the same senior citizen who had gone missing from his Byculla colony in February
It was just one small act of kindness for a policeman in Solapur who fed a homeless old man. And yet, its ripples were felt all the way here in Mumbai, where another cop watched a viral video of the incident and recognised the destitute man as his 90-year-old neighbour, who had gone missing four months ago. Thanks to one cop's compassion, and the other's alertness, the senior citizen has now been reunited with his family and is back home.
Bhikaji Pansare is back at his home in Byculla
Bhikaji Pansare, 90, had gone missing from Byculla on February 7. "We searched everywhere for my father — railway stations, hospitals and temples — but found not a single clue. We registered a missing complaint at Byculla police station, and distributed pamphlets at various places, but nothing worked. In desperation, we even went to the Sai Baba temple at Shirdi to pray for his return," said Manali Patole, Bhikaji's daughter.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, over 400 km away in Solapur, head constable Nasruddin Shaikh spotted an elderly man crawling on the road. "I had seen him for the first time. I asked him who he was, and whether he was hungry. I fed him, unaware that someone was taking a video of the entire exchange," Nasruddin recalled.
Bhikaji's family felicitates Solapur policeman Nasruddin Shaikh in Solapur after Mumbai cop Ashok Bhujbal tracked him down
In a couple of days, the video had gone viral on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, with social media users appreciating the kind gesture. By Monday afternoon, the video had reached Ashok Bhujbal, the head constable at Shivaji Park police station in Mumbai.
Ashok told mid-Day, "I was interested to see this good deed by a fellow policeman, so I downloaded the video. I was shocked when I identified the elderly man on the streets as none other than Bhikaji Pansare, my neighbour who was missing since February 7.
"I wanted to confirmed it with Bhikaji's daughter, so that evening, I went to their house and showed the video to his daughter, Sangita. She fell to her knees and burst into tears."
Ashok Bhujbal, the Shivaji Park cop who identified Pansare in the video
Found in two hours
Ashok then posted the video on his police station's group, asking if anyone knew the constable feeding the old man. One of the cops from his station hailed from Solapur, and he forwarded the video to the police group there. In Solapur, a third cop identified Nasruddin from the video.
"He said Nasruddin was head constable at the Solapur city police station, so we contacted them and took his contact number. All of this happened in a span of just two hours," said Ashok.
Speaking from Solapur, Nasruddin said, "When I got the call from Mumbai, I was just about to start the night shift. I immediately called the beat marshal and asked them to check on the senior citizen. They rescued him and sent word to the family in Mumbai."
'Hello, we found him'
Bhikaji's daughters had been waiting for the call, and as soon as it came, they left for Solapur at 10 pm. They are now with their father, and are likely to arrive back in Mumbai in the wee hours today. The police are not sure how the nonagenarian managed to reach Solapur alone, but they suspect he may have been confused and boarded a train there by mistake. The family is just relieved to have him back. Manali said, "I am so grateful to the cops who reunited us and brought a smile back to our faces after so long."
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