The six girls who were tracked down by police in Thane after they had gone missing from their Kalina residences on Thursday in an apparent runaway pact were on Sunday made to sit through an extended counselling session at the Vakola police station before being allowed to join their parents.
Officers from Vakola police said the move to counsel the girls aged 12 to 17 was owing to a letter they had left behind,in which they alleged that they were often scolded by parents and that they wanted to make it big in the world on their own. They said they might book Sameer Bhalerao (19) and his friend,who helped the girls with transport and accommodation.
Karjat resident Bhalerao knew one of the girls and he had first taken them to Pune and from there to the house of one of his relatives in Tokawadi,Thane. The girls are minors. Since Bhalerao is an adult,we may book him, said an officer.
The police said the girls were shocked by the media coverage of their escape. We decided to counsel the girls to help them overcome this chapter. Many counsellers came forward to help us, inspector (crime) Sanjay Patil said.
Dayanand Sawant,father of two of the girls,told Newsline that his family was relieved to get them back. They had said that they were going to school,and we thought they would be back soon. Even when they did not come home by evening,we did not worry as they were together. However,when we realised that they had run away,and found their note,we panicked. We formed small teams to search for them. Parents of the girls were running from pillar to post. Once the complaint was registered with the Vakola police,officers went out of their way to help us. We are very grateful to them.
Sawant said all parents were relieved that no one had taken advantage of them.