DB Marg police officers patrolling Girgaon Chowpatty during Ganesh visarjan celebrations go the distance to calm lost kids
ASI Suryakant Sathey and constable Deepali Kandalkar
The DB Marg Police has traced 22 children who were lost during the Ganesh visarjan celebrations at Girgaon Chowpatty on Thursday, and handed them over to their families.
ASI Suryakant Sathey and constable Deepali Kandalkar were tasked with finding any missing children in the crowded beach. “Constable Deepali was making regular announcements about missing children, while ASI Suryakant was scouring the beach, looking for children who were on their own and scared,” said Senior PI Vinayak Ghorpade of DB Marg Police.
Speaking to mid-day, Kandalkar said that a lot of people approached them, informing them about children who were crying or lost. “After we identified the missing children, we brought them to the police station. Many of them were frightened. We tried to calm them down and let them sleep for some time; we also gave them food and water.”
Once they were in a position to talk, the police requested the children to write their parents’ contact details down. “But many seemed clueless. We then gave our mobile phones to them, and they called their parents immediately,” she added. One girl dialled six wrong numbers—on her seventh attempt, she remembered her father’s number.
ASI Sathey said it was challenging to trace the parents, as they had very few leads. “Most of the children were between the ages three and 14. The younger ones gave us very basic details,” he said. Sathey narrated the case of a young girl, who couldn’t provide any contact details or address. “We clicked her photos and circulated them. She was later reunited with her uncle on the beach,” he said.
Another three-year-old, Kandalkar said, kept saying that he lives near a Ganesh pandal in Nagpada. “We took the boy to that pandal and traced his family,” he said. Last year, during the visarjan celebrations, the DB Marg Police were able to trace 31 missing children.