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Is Sourav-Supriya case heading the Neha Bagti-way - fading?

Do we remember the preamble to the Indian constitution? Here it is for those who need to jog down their memory lane.

“We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;”

Now let us dive into the Sourav and Supriya Das case. The siblings were last seen with their mother on June 9, 2019. Since then the two are missing and there is no clue if they are even alive. Children of daily wager Sunadhan Das and homemaker Sombala Das, Supriya is 5-year-old and her brother Sourav, a student of Adarchand High School had just turned 12. Residents of Tapabon Road, located in Ashram Road, Silchar, shared that the siblings were somewhere near the deputy commissioners office when they went missing. A police complaint was lodged immediately. When local organisations saw Police is least bothered about the case they marched on the road, submitted memorandums to the senior officials in Cachar Police and District Administration, but to no avail.

 

On September 26, youth Congress leader, Abhijit Paul submitted a memorandum to the additional deputy commissioner Cachar. Paul said there are two statements lying at Silchar Sadar Police station which contradict each other and therefore put the Police’s actions under question. According to him in the first Police complaint lodged by Sombala Das, it is mentioned that she said, “Unidentified individuals kidnapped her children from the turning near Elora hotel in Silchar.” Shedding light to the other statement which was signed by Sombala Das, Paul said, “It is mentioned that she sold her own kids,” basis which she was jailed but eventually released.

 

Not only Youth Congress, An NGO, ‘Apanjan’ too questioned the ignorance of Cachar Police. They questioned, “If a professor’s daughter could be rescued within days, why is Police unable to find Sourav, Supriya.” They asked the administration through the media, if the law is different for the rich and if the poor must always be deprived of justice.

 

Sunadhan and Sombala Das, parents of Supriya and Sourav Das

 

On November 6, 2019, parents of the missing kids, sat at the foothills of Khudiram Bose’s statue in Silchar and said they are going on hunger strike and will only eat after their kids are found. Reportedly, Dy. SP-Cachar, AJ Baruah met the protesting parents and requested to allow the department 20 more days. Well, the 20th day is tomorrow and we are yet to get an update on the siblings. Several associations warned that they would call for massive agitation if the kids are not found. This reminds of the American writer and a leader of the abolitionist movement, Frederick Douglas’s quote, “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organised conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

 

This is not the first time the Police have either ignored or failed to solve a missing case. While solving the same case, Cachar Police was sublime with the rich and sorry with the poor. The case in question is the famous, Trisha Roy Choudhury-kidnapping case of 2017. Why famous? Because chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the most important person of the State personally tweeted about the case. His tweet read, ” Congratulations to Assam Police for successfully rescuing the 3-year-old girl, who was kidnapped from Assam University campus.” Not only CM, MLA Sonai and now the deputy speaker of Assam, Aminul Haque Laskar too announced a bounty of Rs 2 lakh for anyone who finds Trisha. Any kid abducted must return to their parents and there is no doubt that those 80-hours would have felt like a year-long-nightmare for the Roy Choudhury couple. However, it has been more than 150 days, Sunadhan and Sombala Das have not seen their kids, they are poor but not inhuman, they too have heart and we can imagine what they have been going through.

 

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s tweet congratulating Assam Police

 

Trisha Roy Choudhury was found within 80 hours. Daughter of Assam University faculties Subhadeep and Shatabhisha Roy Choudhury, Trisha was reportedly kidnapped by their maid Neha Bagti on June 5, 2017, from their quarter in Assam University Silchar. While deservingly, Police got a lot of credit for rescuing Trisha, it is yet to trace the alleged kidnapper and prime suspect Neha Bagti. A single breadwinner of the family, Neha is a resident of the Dargakona area. As per reports, she was seen escorting Trisha to a white car which was allegedly used by the kidnappers. Trisha was found in a Salon in Meghalaya’s Khliehriat where the kidnappers allegedly got her to give her a “boy-cut” and that is when she started crying. SP EJH, Spill Thamar confirmed the news of Trisha’s rescue and said, “The girl was abandoned by kidnappers at a barber’s shop in the district headquarter on Saturday afternoon. When the little girl started crying, the public became wary and informed the police. The scared little girl couldn’t even say a word and she wouldn’t stop crying, She is currently under police care.”

 

(L-R) Neha Bagti’s sister, mother and father who is no more; Image Credit: Manna Barbhuiya

 

Where did Neha Bagti go? Why is the CM not tweeting about the Police’s failure to find her? Why is Aminul Haque Laskar not announcing a bounty for finding Neha Bagti, she too is a voter of his constituency… American playwright and author, James Arthur Baldwin’s one of the most famous quotes read, “It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” Neha’s father has expired. Time and again he was quoted by newspapers, shown on local TV channels, crying, pleading and asking for his daughter. Neha’s sister is mentally imbalanced and there is a mother to look after. In India, one is innocent until proven guilty and only the court decides who is guilty and what should be the punishment. Or is the law different for the poor?

 

On the other hand, if Neha Bagti is a vicious criminal, a child lifter, someone who sells children, for the larger security, isn’t it important for Assam Police to nab her? What did the CM credit Assam Police for? Trisha was abandoned at a barber’s shop in Meghalaya, SP, East Janita Hills went to the salon and rescued her, what role did Assam Police play? Unless it was a covert operation, the answer is “nothing”.

 

At the age when women empowerment, safety, and security of women, girl-child education are considered as “topmost priority, at an age when the DC of Cachar is a woman, National Mahila Congress President is from Silchar and the Prime Minister says “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” isn’t it surprising that a women, a girl and a young boy are missing in the valley and there is hardly any attention being paid to the case. Why? Just because they are poor and it does not serve any narrative? The national leadership of BJP, RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad visit Silchar frequently and every time they mention that the Hindus are safe and nobody can touch them, and it is the time for the Hindus. Well, all the three missing are Hindus what about their safety?

 

It is well established in Barak Valley that one needs money in the bank to attain basic healthcare, how else one must fly down to Guwahati during an emergency. Is that what is necessary to get justice too?

 

One of the greatest leaders of all time, the most visible spokesperson of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. had written an open letter from Birmingham jail. Let’s end this story of Supriya-Sourav and Neha Bagti, story of inequality and injustice, with an iconic quote from the iconic letter, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

 

So, is the Supriya-Sourav case heading the Neha Bagti way – fading into oblivion?

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