On April 28, three teenage boys went to their school, but never returned home. When the mother of one of the boys went to the government school in Munirka, she found that the watchman was lying unconscious and her son and the two other boys were not in the school.
Later she learnt that her son had been beaten up while at school. When she approached police, she was initially faced with reticence — but eventually an FIR for kidnapping was filed.
A week later, the three children still haven’t returned home.
Police said the three class VIII-students — Saurabh (12), Aakash (12) and Rasheed (14) — disappeared from Sarvodaya Co-ed Senior Secondary School in Munirka. It was Saurabh’s mother, Hira Devi, who went went to the school to look for her children.
“I waited till 6 pm, but he didn’t return home. At the school, no one opened the school gate and I found the guard lying unconscious. He was apparently beaten up. The two other children were also not there,” Hira Devi, a mess worker at JNU, said.
Police later claimed that the fact that the security guard was lying unconscious was unrelated to the disappearance of the children.
When Hira Devi went to police she was told that the boys may have run away on their own volition. “They didn’t want to file an FIR. Only when the JNU students and staff got involved that the matter was taken up by police,” she claimed.
For a week, Hira Devi waited in vain for her son to return. Finally, she approached the Delhi High Court on Monday seeking a proper police inquiry to trace the children.
“The child (Saurabh) was wrongly accused by some senior students in the school who had been bullying him. However, he was punished. Later, when the complaint was found to be false, the boy was reportedly forced to write and sign a letter,” Anandita Pujara, Hira Devi’s counsel, said.
The Delhi High Court came down heavily on police. It said that irrespective of why the children had fled, it is police’s duty to make every effort to trace them.
Delhi Government additional standing counsel Rajesh Mahajan submitted a status report before the court of Justice P K Bhasin and Justice J R Midha.
Police claimed that “some initial clues” about the disappearance of the children had been revealed after questioning other students, the staff and the principal of the school. The court has now issued a notice to police and directed them to file a status report by May 21.