HYDERABAD: Sandhya was nine when she went missing on her way from a temple in Dammaiguda. For the last 2.5 years, since she went missing, Sandhya was under the impression that she was abandoned by her mother. She was rescued by passersby and lodged in a shelter home. Since then, she was shifted to different homes before coming to the Sai Seva Sangh in Moosapet.
While other kids at the home had frequent visitors, mostly their parents, Sandhya was yearning to see her mother and brother again. She had no hopes though. At least till the Cyberabad SHE Teams found her mother through their Operation SMILE initiative. Now 11, Sandhya feels she’s the luckiest person on earth.
Inspector S Sunitha, who visited the home recently and interacted with the children there, noticed that Sandhya alone had no stories to say about her family. While other kids chatted away, Sandhya preferred to be alone. When Sunitha dug deep, she realised that Sandhya could not recollect much about where she had lost her way.
All that she could say was that she used to live in a rented house near one ‘Venkateswara temple’ at Kukatpally. She visited the temple regularly. With just that one clue, police took up her case. They took her to the temple where she identified the house she had lived in, back in 2013-14. When contacted, the house owner recognised the child and helped track down Sandhya’s mother Lalitha.
On Wednesday, Lalitha and her elder son Manish rushed to the home to see Sandhya. It was a happy reunion, after 2.5 years of hopeless search. But even after having found her daughter, Lalitha is unable to take her back home. “I work as a labourer and living conditions in my house is very poor,” says Lalitha.
“I do not make enough money to take care of my two children. The facilities in this centre are good. Let her stay here itself. At least now I can visit her every week and make sure she is doing well,” says Lalitha.
On a fateful day Sandhya went missing, passersby noticed her standing on roadside and crying. They handed her over to Jawaharnagar police. As the day came to an end with no clues, the police handed her over to a girls’ home in Nimboli Adda through childline. The next day, Lalitha approached police after reading in newspapers that they had rescued a child. She was guided to the Nimboli Adda home, but by then Sandhya was shifted to another home in Ramanthapur.