That One Night@Police Station

Does Love mean pain for others’? Should your love story be some innocent being’s torture tale? And if you are an influential parent, does that mean you use it for absolutely illegal purposes and your anger creates your own children’s death route? A true story…

I woke up from deep sleep to receive a call on my mobile.

Was a bit shocked when the number flashing on my mobile was unknown and at an unusual time — 2.15 am. Could not understand any thing and did not have enough time to think. With mix fear and apprehension, I received the call: “Hello, aap ke paas Sridhar ke ghar ka number hai kya?” (do you have Sridhar’s residential contact number?), was the query. Without introducing himself and without knowing to whom he is talking, the person asked me this question point blank. I could not believe, was mum for a moment.

Again the unknown caller asked me, “aap, Sitakant Bhaiya ho na? mein Sridhar ka dost Chennai se bol raha hun, Sridhar ka tabeiyat kharab hai, he is admitted to a hospital, we want to talk to his parents or to his relatives.” (you are Sitakant Bhaiya? I am Sridhar’s friend calling from Chennai, he is not well and is admitted to a hospital, we want to talk to his parents or to his relatives).

I got nervous.

In the meantime, my parents and brother woke up in the other room with the phone’s ring. They came with worried faces and stood by me a little alarmed, in order to know what unusual had happened that night? I did not have his (Sridhar) parents’ number, but had his relative’s (brother-in-law Sumeet) number with me. In fact, Sridhar was introduced to me through Sumeet some two years back, who happened to be my batch mate and friend some time in my undergraduate days.

Without wasting any time, I asked the unknown caller, “I don’t have Sridhar’s parents’ number, but, I have his relative’s number with me. I will ask him to call you back in a few minutes.” Even though I asked the caller about Sridhar’s sudden health problem and hospitalization, he did not reveal any thing, was avoiding any of my queries. I could not understand what was happening. My brother asked me what was the matter as he could figure out some thing unusual and fishy in the call. When I told him the matter, he asked me to call Sumeet without any delay and I called him back immediately. Seeing my call at that late hour, Sumeet too got frightened. When I told him the matter, he became serious and tensed. I gave the unknown number and asked him to call in that number to inquire immediately. He promised to call me back after talking to that number.

There was a gap of some 5/6 minutes in between. We were nervous. Many things kept coming to my mind. “Is he serious, is his life in danger, is there any accident?, who is the caller, and how come he got my number”? Looks like the caller knows a lot about me and my whereabouts. Seeing my anxiety and tension, mom came to me and sat there. “Kuchh nahin hua hoga, thoda tabaiyat kharab hua hoga, chinta mat karo, sab thik ho jayega”, (don’t worry, there might be some health problem, things will get settled soon) mom told me just to comfort me.

I did not have patience to wait for Sumeet’s call. After 6/7 minutes I called him back to know the matter. While talking to him, I realized that there was some thing more serious than what we expected and it seemed the unknown caller also did not tell him all the details. We realized that there was some thing fishy in the entire conversation. What Sumeet told me made me all the more suspicious. This is because; the unknown caller asked us not to call in Sridhar’s number and told me as well as Sumeet that his phone is out of order. Immediately after talking to Sumeet, I called to that unknown number again and started asking, the hospital details, Sridhar’s exact problem, etc.

What the unknown person told me and what he told to Sumeet were bit different, his version was not the same in both the calls. My doubt became solid and I cut the call, saying that we will get back to you in 5 minutes. In the mean time Sumeet called up Sridhar’s number. Some one picked up the phone, but did not answer properly to his call. May be Sumeet’s number was not stored in that mobile and seemed unknown to him. Immediately Sumeet called me back and informed me this. He asked me to call back to Sridhar’s number, because he thought that my number might be stored in that mobile for identification.

I called up Sridhar’s number as instructed by Sumeet. Some one picked up the phone and started speaking to me in half Tamil – half English. “Are you coming?”, was his only question. “Where?” I asked. He told me some place name, but I could not understand that. He re-said the name thrice. I started asking about the identity of the person. But, he did not say much. Just said, “kidnap…. kidnaapp…, you know Kidnap, Sridhar kidnapped…, come soon, you are Sitakant bhaiya, Sridhar’s relative” and immediately cut the call. Nothing was clear to me. My fear and doubt got intensified. But, one thing started becoming clear, that Sridhar is neither hospitalized nor no more. He is alive and some thing else has happened. I was frightened, thinking that there might be a possibility of under-world connection and kidnapping or extortion in this case.

Unintentionally and unwontedly, I was getting involved in the case. I got more and more nervous.

When I called Sumeet, we discussed that probably my number is stored in Sridhar’s mobile as “Sitakant Bhaiya”. That was the reason the person who picked up my phone asked me “are you coming?” thinking that I might be Sridhar’s relative. Whereas, he did not say any thing to Sumeet’s call. After talking to Sumeet, I called the unknown number again and started asking him more. I briefed him about my recent conversation with the person and about the kidnap things to him. I asked him almost threateningly as to what the actual matter was? and what the story was? Fortunately, he said with a subdued tone “yes, Sridhar is kidnapped, not hospitalized. The person who has kidnapped him is not willing to let him go unless he meets his close relatives or parents.” I asked him “what is the reason of this kidnap? Is there any money involved?” The person replied, “No, there is nothing like that”. While talking to him, I learnt that, even in desperation, he (Sridhar’s friend) had called Sridhar’s parents also, but could not speak to them out of fear.

After my several queries, he narrated the real story behind the drama. Actually, Sridhar was forcefully kidnapped, not by miscreants, but by a well known, educated person of that city (Chennai) with the help of the local Police. The reason being, his daughter was in love with Sridhar’s friend. Both of them got married in court and the girl eloped with her lover. When her father came to know, became furious and even threatened to kill both his daughter and son-in-law, as if it was an “honour killing”. He even gave Supari to harm them physically. But had failed miserably. No one could find the whereabouts of the couple. Finally, he kidnapped Sridhar from Sridhar’s rented room and told his friends, will let Sridhar go, only if his daughter comes back. Since the couple did not come back, he did not let Sridhar go and tied him in a pole with the help of the local police.

Afterwards, the same local police took charge of Sridhar and took him in custody at the police station. No FIR was filed, nothing was in record, but Sridhar was forced to stay; without food and water, in an in-human way. He was penalized and tortured by the law keepers not for his own mistake.

In the meantime Sumeet spoke to me and asked me, if I know any one there at Chennai (at some good position) who can help us in legal matters. Though I knew many, but was not sure whether they will help me or not. I assured him of getting back with the details of the person willing, ASAP. I asked him also, to look for his own contacts too. Next morning I tried to call couple of people for help, but did not succeed. Fortunately, Sumeet could manage to get some one, who was a lawyer. He promised to look into it. But, in the mean time, the couple surfaced themselves in another police station, filed an FIR against their parents and surrendered to the Police station outside Chennai. That was 2 pm, in the afternoon. Their surrender cleared the path and Sridhar was freed from the clutch of the police and the kidnappers. He had some 30 hours of horrible time at the police station and at the kidnapper’s place, his friends had some thing worse and were in terror throughout the day and the night, and we had our own sleepless nights.

A love story/marriage/honour-torture/kidnap all in one bundle.

Aamjunta… Think about it seriously.

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