This July 22, the boy was travelling with about 100 others from the CCI to an amusement park in Sonepat. While crossing Chhatarpur border he had a feeling of deja vu
The Hush Post: A boy went missing about 9 years from Chhatarpur area of South Delhi. At that time, he was just 6 years old.
Yesterday, he was traced to Gurugram and reunited with his family in an over nine-year-long tale of struggle.
Now Hassan Ali is 16 years old. All this while he was living at Child Care Institute (CCI) in Gurugram since he was separated from his parents on March 2, 2009.
He had given up on the prospect of reuniting with his family. But a chance trip to an amusement park earlier this year changed everything.
This July 22, Ali was travelling with about 100 others from the CCI to an amusement park in Sonepat. When they crossed Chhatarpur, he told Ashique Ali, a CCI coordinator, that he has seen the place before.
It immediately rang a bell in Ashique Ali’s mind. And Ashique started began his efforts to reunite Ali with his parents.
That evening, upon their return, Ashique and Ali got off the bus at Chhatarpur and asked the others to go ahead. “We kept on roaming at several places but could not get any leads. We returned, but then we kept visiting the area regularly in search of clues,” Ashique said.
Ali had gone missing from a playground in Chhatarpur. It was assumed that he had run away from the madrasa in which he studied. The two did not know that Ali’s family had since moved from Delhi to Dharuhera, 60km away.
Ashique and Ali kept making trips to Chhatarpur every few days. In the last week of July, the two met a few children playing in a small ground and asked them if there was any madrasa in the vicinity. The children took them us to a maulvi named Mohammad Shamshir Qari. He immediately recognised Hassan, hugged him, and took out his mobile phone to contact the boy’s grandfather.
Even a meeting with grandfather wasn’t good enough, for he wasn’t on talking terms with Hassan’s parents, so he had to wait a little more
Qari later took the boy to his grandfather. But even he had not been in contact with the boy’s parents owing to some dispute. Ashique said, after searching for two months, they found a contact of a relative in West Bengal, but he also said he had not been in contact with the parents.
By now, word had spread in the extended Ali family, and a hunt for the parents had begun.
Eventually, on Monday evening, one of Ali’s relatives found them in Dharuhera. He informed the parents that their son had been found. Delighted, the parents rushed to Gurugram and went straight to the CCI late at night.
“I couldn’t believe my son was in front of me. He immediately recognised us. We were taken to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) for documentation the next morning,” said Salim Mohammad, the boy’s father.
Hassan’s father Mohammad had sent Ali to study at a madrasa in Chhatarpur because he was then a daily wage labourer who earned Rs 50 a day and could not afford to admit him in a private school. “Hassan had refused to study at madrasa and cried a lot, but I thought he will start staying with other children, and will gradually start liking the place. Even his mother was unwilling to send him, but I wanted him to study and do well in life,” he added.