On April 13 the 2003, little Rohan and Puja never went back home. They had gone to the nearby temple as they did every evening. That day some predator was lurking with his diabolical agenda.
Two days later their bodies were found in the sluice gate of the okhla barrage. A little shoe was discovered later next to an open drain in a nearby wooded area, a place no child their age could have reached on their own.
Rohan and Puja were pwhy kids.
I had to move heaven and earth to convince the local police that the children had not just gone off in the dead of the night, crossed dangerous streets and walked in lonely spaces to find the open drain where their death beckoned. I had to use my persuasive skills, my contacts and every ruse in my book to get the FIR lodged under the right IPC sections. I got my share of threats, bullying and intimidating but held on.
The post mortem report not surprisingly did not mention the bruises and cuts but a staid death by drowning. The case was never solved. The family was suitably brow beaten and little Puja and Rohan became simple annoying statistics.
Why were these beautiful children kidnapped and then killed is any one's guess. Some dark ritual, sexual depravation or personal enmity... no one really cared. Rohan and Puja belonged to the other side of the fence were children are dispensable commodities. For the parents there was never a closure. They just got on with the task of surviving, their grief visible in the few extra grey hair and defeated look of the fathers and the drawn faces and the sad eyes of the mothers. Even the birth of little Nidhi could not bring the required healing.
The last weeks has brought to fore the chilling reality of the number of children that are missing and the fate that many have met. Wonder how many lie dead hidden somewhere yet to be stumbled upon. Wonder also how many could have been saved had the law makers and protectors done their job with a modicum of honesty.
It is time for us to stop and think about what we can do to change things and ensure that tender lives like tat of Rohan and Puja, like that of the children of Nithari or the ones found in the Punjab mill are not in vain.