There was a girl. Let’s suppose her name was Gudiya. Indeed, all girls are Gudiyas to their parents. She went to school, where she played with her friends. A member of a joint family, she had a loving elder brother and a young niece, who was her playmate at home. At times, when she remembered her mother, the little girl would get lost in thoughts. She did not have a mother. The love of a mother — something so cherished and coveted by one and all — is what she missed. It was left to her father to console her at such times with a loving pat on her head. Yes, her father showered her with love.
A single 10-feet-by-10-feet room in a narrow lane was what the father and daughter called their home. The girl was fond of the ubiquitous orange-flavoured candies so popular in Kolkata. She had also seen the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolates with enticing pictures on them decked up in the bigger shops. For all her keen desire to taste them, those are the ones her father couldn’t afford.
The father is merely a sanitation worker working for the city’s municipal corporation. He gives her a rupee or two at times, which allows her to buy for herself and her young niece the orange-flavoured candies from the nukkad shop next door. Her brother too gives her money for candy whenever he visits them.
One day the girl went missing.
She could not be found anywhere. She had been to a shop in the vicinity to buy some candy but did not return. Her father and her uncles looked for her all over. There was no trace of her.
They went to the police station. The officers told them she must have gone somewhere and ought to be back soon. The father informed the men in uniform that his daughter was only 15. She knew no place other than the neighbourhood shop. She could not have possibly gone just anywhere. She had never been anywhere beyond on her own. After a lot of coaxing, the policemen relented somewhat, registering merely a general diary (police complaint short of a First Information Report or FIR).
Binod Das, the girl’s father, kept visiting the police station once every day to ask about his daughter. He got no response there, let alone assistance. However, he did not relent and kept looking for his missing daughter. Armed only with a photo of his dear daughter, he tried asking random people here and there.
This is how he stumbled upon a fact one day. A young man of a neighbouring locality was last seen with his daughter, dragging her away. He was in a group.
The father immediately went to the police station to inform this in detail. After hearing him out, the policemen told him that the area in question was dangerous. It was like a sovereign country within the country, somewhere they did not dare to venture.
None of the cops would like to meet a fate similar to Vinod Mehta. It was beyond their capability to rescue Gudiya (name changed), the daughter of Das, from that area. The hapless father pleaded with the officers, begging them to do something. To no avail. The policemen pleaded helplessness.
The girl had gone missing on 10 June 2017. Das has not seen his daughter ever since. He does not even know whether she is dead or alive, and if still alive, in what condition. The police have given up.
Das has even tried to visit the Chief Minister’s Office. But a petty sanitation worker is not permitted to enter the CMO. Still, he risked his life to visit the place, but has got no results.
The poor father does not fear for his life. But he wonders what would happen to his daughter if he is gone. This is what drives him to live on and fight on. He has also filed a petition at the High Court with the hope of receiving some relief. He lives on, in the hope of seeing his daughter again. Someday, she would be back. She would rest her head on his lap and ask about her mother again.
Many have tried to convince Das that his daughter has left him of her own free will. He responds to them asking, if that were the case, why she would forget her father totally. Would she not even make a phone call to inform her father how she was doing? No, the father refuses to buy this fallacious argument. He is stubborn; he would get back his 15-year-old daughter.
Das hails from Bihar. People keep gossiping back there. He does not care much for idle gossip. He considers Kolkata his home. The gentlemen here discuss on a whole range of issues; so he trusts that one day they will take up cudgels on behalf of his poor Gudiya too. It is a pity that the poor man’s trust is misplaced, as borne by the fact that he is regularly forced by the police to withdraw his case.
The irony is painful. The accused in this case, one Mintu Miyan, was actually even identified by the 8-year-old niece of Gudiya. The young girl had stated unequivocally at Lalbazar, the headquarters of Kolkata Police, it was this man who had dragged Gudiya away on that day.
Even after this, the police have not arrested the accused. The kidnapped Gudiya is not rescued. Instead, it is Das who is reprimanded: How dare he file a complaint! Has someone bribed him to file the case?
The ‘intellectuals’ will not speak on this matter. To them, Gudiya “is a Hindu. Just a bloody Hindu!” There is no lure of petrodollars in this case and, hence, no time to waste here. That time is better spent in reading Das Kapital.
It is the common man that Das expects help from. Could they not raise their voice? Could they not return to him his daughter, whom he has not seen these past 10 months? How much longer should he wait?
In his anguish, the hapless man wants to cry out. Does his daughter not matter? Do poor people like him not matter in West Bengal? Why does no one speak? Does no one care?
This report of mine may invite the ire of both official and unofficial quarters. I might incur the wrath of extremely powerful and influential people, who enjoy the direct support of the state administration. I may be forced to delete my posts or even jailed on fabricated charges. I entrust my readers to carry on this struggle further.
However, none of it will prove these facts wrong. I shall continue my struggle on behalf of the exploited Hindus of Bengal. I entrust my readers to take this struggle forward.