Sweet reunion for missing mentally-challenged girl with her mother

Pinky was 15 years old when she got lost while following her mother in August 2008
Mumbai: Six-and-a-half years after she wandered off, leaving behind a distraught mother and a father who took to alcohol, a family found their beloved child safe and sound at a government-run school for mentally-disabled children. The mentally-challenged girl, now 21, will be handed over to the family after authorities at the government-run Mentally Deficient Children (MDC) School at Mankhurd initiate release proceedings before the district women and child welfare committee on Friday.
Shubhavati Singh (44) nearly fainted when the MDC staffers told her they have a girl with the description under their care “I started crying as if I had lost a child. It was primarily the disbelief that my vulnerable daughter was safe and sound with a responsible institution. All sweet memories involving her playfully following me began flooding back. She had grown up and even recognised me. I hugged her tightly and the first thing I did was to immediately come back with some fruits and snacks for her,” said Ms Singh, who works as a domestic help.
Shubhavati lives with her husband Brijnarayan and their three children Rukmina, an SSC student, sons Deepnarayan (18) and Sandeep (19) in a slum dwarfed by a huge garbage dump behind Navghar’s Mhada colony in Mulund (east), just a minute’s walk away from the Navghar police station. Brijnarayan works as a cleaner and handyman at the police station. Pinky was the eldest and 15-years-old then, when she just “went astray” while following her mother around in August 2008 when the latter was headed to work.
“We filed a missing person’s report with the Navghar police station and I searched everywhere from Railway police stations between Mulund and Kalwa to temples where homeless take shelter. We gave up the search later,” Shubhavati said. “My husband took to the bottle and everything just went downhill,” she said. Brijnarayan was out for work when this correspondent visited their house.
Two weeks ago, a neighbour told Shubhavati about government-run rescue homes for runaway and juvenile children. “I first went to the Dongri remand home last Tuesday with a photo and brimmed with happiness when they said they had the girl with the description four years ago before they transferred her to the MDC School,” she said. An official from the Dongri Juvenile Remand Home said there weren’t vacancies at specially abled children’s homes anywhere in the state, forcing them to keep the girl with them.
They gave her the Mankhurd shelter’s address where she went two days later to finally see her lost daughter. “The girl was transferred to us on August 30, 2010. We have called the mother with various documents before the committee on Friday,” said an official from the MDC school.
Shubhavati meanwhile said she stood vindicated in her “much-criticised” decision to not drop her daughter’s name from their ration card. “I knew I would find her someday and the ration card is what will prove she is my daughter,” she said.
( Source : deccan chronicle )
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