Five hours after a six-year-old girl went missing from Nizamuddin railway station early Wednesday morning, she was found crying next to a man who attempted to calm her down in a cluster bus near South West Delhi’s Palam. The child’s scared demeanour raised suspicion in the mind of Arun Kumar (24), the bus marshal, who foiled a kidnapping bid within minutes — and also got the accused, seated next to the child, arrested.
A day later, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he was “proud of the marshal and conductor who reunited the child with her family… both will be honoured by Delhi government.”
The incident took place around 10.45 am on bus route 728, which was headed towards New Delhi. Kumar, a civil defence volunteer, said, “The child and the man took the bus from Palam flyover. The child kept crying and the man couldn’t calm her down. Through her body language, I felt something was not right so I confronted the man. He tried to flee, and I asked the conductor, Virendra, to shut both gates of the bus.”
The bus then went towards Subroto Park police post and a PCR call was made. DCP (Railways) Harendra K Singh said a call from Subroto Park police post about a child being handed over by a bus marshal fit the description of a child who went missing at 6 am from platform number 6 of Nizamuddin railway station.
Singh said, “We realised it was the same girl — she had gotten off the UP Sampark Kranti with her parents and two younger siblings. We will award Rs 2,000 each to the marshal and conductor as well as a commendation certificate.”
At a press conference Thursday, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said, “We are often asked why there is a need for bus marshals… today I’m happy to report this instance… From October 29 to today, bus marshals have averted several untoward incidents of pickpocketing. Bus marshals who show courage and presence of mind will be rewarded.”
Kejriwal said he met Kumar on Thursday, and he apprised him of the entire sequence of events. “Many passengers in the bus also came forward and helped Arun. If we come across any wrongdoing, we must help the victim like true Indians and good citizens,” he said.
The accused has been identified as Satish Kumar (22), a ragpicker.