CUDDALORE: A three-year-old boy washed away in a car by the tsunami, but miraculously pulled out by a police official involved in the rescue operations at the Silver Beach here, went missing on the way to hospital. Even after a decade, the boy, Thalha (in pic) is yet to be traced, but his relatives keep their fingers crossed.
It was a tour that turned tragic for Safi (38) and his wife Parveen (29). A businessman from Ooty, the couple along with their three children had come on a tour to Puducherry by car on December 26, 2004.
Their first son Tanvir was six years old, second son Thalha three and the last son eight months old. En-route, they stopped at Cuddalore for breakfast in a hotel. On seeing a roadside signboard that said Silver Beach, a tourist attraction, was just 2 km away, they left for the seafront. As Thalha was asleep, the couple decided not to disturb him and left him in the car. They then went to the beach.
Suddenly, the gentle sea turned monster and sucked everyone, including Safi, Parveen, Tanvir and the infant into the sea. Tanvir was later rescued. The massive waves rocked Thalha’s car violently and woke him up. The then SP of Cuddalore, Paneer Selvam, was involved in rescue operations. He heard the cries of Thalha, reached the car, broke open the windshield with much difficulty and retrieved the wailing child.
He then handed over the child to a police gunman asking him to send the boy to Cuddalore GH. The policeman put the child in one of the ambulances along with a few other affected persons and directed that the boy be taken to the GH.
But the child wasn’t taken to the hospital. The SP, much later, formed police teams to search for the boy in all the coastal villages and in other places but could not find the child.
The boy’s relative, Mohamed Uvais, who now runs Thalha Management Services in Cuddalore, says “We circulated pamphlets all over the district, advertised in newspapers and made announcement through TV. We did not get any information. We are still waiting for Thalha,” he says.