BENGALURU: A 13-year-old girl who had left home a week ago in Jalandhar, Punjab, was reunited with her family in Bengaluru on Thursday.
The girl had changed two trains to reach Bengaluru, surviving just on water enroute.
A devastated mother Lalitha Devi, accompanied by her brother-in-law Rajesh Kumar, reached Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna (Bengaluru City) railway station on Thursday evening by the Karnataka Express to take her back home.
The five-hour delay in the train’s journey added to their agony. The teenager is safe today, thanks to ‘Nanhe Farishte’, a new rescue team for children constituted by the Railway Board at all divisions across the country. It was Railway Protection Force (RPF) cop Zeena Pinto, who spotted the girl sitting on a bench at Yesvantpur railway station on Sunday and rushed to her rescue.
Express met the shy and scared Ranjitha Kumari (name changed) at the BOSCO office on Platform 4 of the railway station. Her mother was seated nearby without speaking a word to her.
Teary-eyed and shocked, she told Express, “None of us know why my daughter left home. We take good care of all our four girls. My husband and I have the regular domestic tiffs that are common in any family. We did not imagine these would affect her so much.”
Her husband works as a masseur in an Ayurvedic clinic while she is a homemaker. Kumari has one younger sibling and two older ones.
Kumari, meanwhile, was sitting quiet, trying to make sense of all the commotion around her. A male and female constable from the Jalandhar police station where her father had registered an FIR after she went missing, had accompanied her family all along. Many formalities were completed by the cops befoe handing her over to the Punjab State police.
Asked about the reasons for leaving home, this Class 6 student said, “My father is always fighting with my mother. I do not want to be in that place. I took money kept on the TV and left.”
Kumari is good in studies and regularly gets an A+ grade. Totally unmindful of the risks she had got herself into, she said, “I want to be an IPS officer when I grow up.”
Kumar, a painter, said he will counsel his brother never to fight with his wife in future. The family left by Karnataka Express to Delhi an hour after they were united.