Telangana minor girl rescued from kidnapper by Women’s Safety Wing after mother’s 3-month struggle

Unhappy with the speed of the local police's investigation, Sujatha approached ADGP Shiksha Goel who finally traced the girl's location.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published Oct 12, 2023 | 12:01 PMUpdatedOct 12, 2023 | 12:01 PM

Shikha Goel, ADGP of Telangana's Women's Safety Wing. (X)

A mother desperately searching for her kidnapped teenage daughter. She faces difficulties with the local police who first speculate that the girl simply ran away from home. She is finally found in another state three months later, locked up in a small room.

This may sound like the plot of a Liam Neeson-inspired movie. This is the real-life story of Sujatha and her 15-year-old daughter — a heart-wrenching tale of determination and maternal love.

Teenage girl goes missing

Sujatha, a daily-wage labourer in Ibrahimpur, has a 13-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter who is studying Intermediate in a private college outside the town. The girl used to take the only RTC bus, which arrived in the morning at 7:30 am and once again in the evening.

On 18 July 2023, the girl did not return home. Imagining the worst yet hoping she was completely wrong, Sujatha travelled to her daughter’s college the next day.

Speaking to South First, she recalled, “July saw heavy rainfall. On the evening of 18 July, my daughter did not return home along with her friend. I first thought that maybe she went to some other friend’s house; she would sometimes ask my permission to attend their birthday functions. When I inquired with her friend with whom she regularly travels, I was met with hostility. Then I heard that the RTC bus broke down due to the heavy rain, so I thought that my daughter was unable to contact me.”

When Sujatha inquired with the college, she learnt that her daughter had not gone to the institution the previous day. She immediately filed a case with the Pargi police station.

Also read: SC commutes death sentence of man convicted for kidnapping, murdering 7-yr-old in TN

A mother on a mission

Days went by but Sujatha heard nothing from the Pargi police. The tenacious mother went there again and requested them to look into the disappearance of her daughter, but they retorted by making derogatory statements about the girl’s character — insinuating that she left willingly with someone known to her.

“When they asked me if I had any suspects in mind, I recalled that there was one man named Masti Suresh who used to follow my daughter to school. Once, our family even thrashed him and threatened him to leave her alone,” Sujatha recalled.

Determined and unwilling to give up after the weak response from the local police, Sujatha visited the house of the alleged accused seeking information from his family about her daughter’s whereabouts. While she was met with silence there, Suresh’s brother finally told her that he had received a call from Suresh and gave Sujatha the number he called from. She gave the contact to the Pargi police immediately.

“When I called the number, a man answered in Hindi. I then requested my neighbour to call back and speak in Hindi and ask if my daughter was fine but our calls were unanswered. As the Pargi police were trying to trace the contact, they instructed us to stop making calls,” said Sujatha.

Also read: Telangana police to strengthen responses on issues related to safety and security of women, children

Sujatha loses confidence in local police

The Pargi police eventually traced the man and they travelled to Bhubaneswar in Odisha, but they returned without the girl.

“This made me lose confidence in the local police and I decided to visit police officers in Hyderabad, as per a suggestion by my husband’s siblings. We went with all the files to Shikha Goel (ADG Women’s Safety Wing). She made me believe that they will rescue my girl,” Sujatha added.

Meanwhile, Pargi police inspector Satyanarayana told South First, “We had been investigating the missing girl’s case and we also travelled to Bhubaneswar but the alleged suspect took the girl to a different location. We were in the process of investigating the case, but the mother of the child approached the Hyderabad police. During the initial investigation, we found that the girl was, indeed, taken by force.”

Girl found after three months

On 5 October, the teenage girl was finally rescued from Bhubaneswar around midnight by officers of the Women’s Safety Wing, as well as an ASI and constable of the Pargi police. She had been found locked in a room. The accused has been arrested.

“I was behind the police to find my daughter because I felt the accused must have killed her or been using her for trafficking. I was also worried for my family because the villagers warned me that if it was found that my daughter had run away with a lower-caste man, then we would be thrown out of the village. This worried me more as we had no shelter anywhere outside the village,” said Sujatha.

She added, “Now that my daughter is back, I want her to stay in the college’s hostel and study there.”

The girl, speaking to South First, resolutely said, “I don’t know what happened but I am interested in completing my studies and working in the field of computers.”

Also read: 5% hike in crimes against women in 5 South Indian states

Advanced technology used to find girl

Narrating how they found the girl, Shikha Goel, Additional Director General of Police (Women’s Safety Wing), told South First, “Initially, all the phone numbers were switched off but our team deployed cutting-edge tools and techniques as part of the investigation. Through the strategic utilisation of technological resources, they successfully traced the minor girl and apprehended the accused.”

She added, “During our investigation, we found that it was a love affair and since the girl is a minor, we had to abide by the law. The girl needed counselling and we have provided it.”

The Pargi police have registered cases under Sections 366 (Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her mar­riage) and 376 (Punishment for rape) under the Indian Penal Code, as well as under the POCSO Act and Prohibition of Child Marriages Act.

This tale of unwavering determination, love, and the tenacity of a mother serves as a stark reminder that even in the face of adversity, hope, resilience, and the pursuit of justice can triumph.