Youth helps 55-yr-old reunite with family after 15 years
Mumbai: Around two months ago when a Malegaon police station received a call from a Delhi shelter home about a 55-year-old woman from the textile town being found in the national capital, a constable nonchalantly jotted down the details. But a young school teacher who was at the station then for passport verification and overheard the conversation, got curious when he heard the name of his locality, Saleem Nagar, being mentioned.
Hameeda had gone missing from Malegaon 15 years ago, and only remembered that her home was near a flour mill in Saleem Nagar.
Immediately, the teacher, Imran Karim Shah, took the caller’s details from the police, contacted the shelter home, and then set out in search of the woman’s family. Within one and a half months, Hameeda was reunited with her husband and four children, who now live in Mumbai.
Hameeda’s husband, Aslam Qureshi, who is now 62, said, “We used to live in Kurla. Around 20 years ago, I sent her to her maternal home in Malegaon. She took our daughter, who was one then. After being there for four to five years, Hameeda went missing. We searched for her in Malegon, Nashik, Jalgaon and Dhule but in vain.”
Hameeda’s daughter was at her sister’s home on the day she went missing. “That day, I went to Manmad [in Nashik] and got into a train that was on the platform. I don’t remember the rest,” Hameeda told TOI.
The next she remembers is that she used to do chores at a mattress shop in Delhi. “An NGO took me from the mattress shop where I used to sleep outside,” she said. She was at Apna Ghar Ashram, a shelter run by the NGO, for nearly three years.
“The shelter home staff kept asking her about her name and address, but she couldn’t recollect it. During a counselling session recently, she told them her name and locality, after which the NGO contacted Malegaon police,” Qureshi said.
And it was this phone call that Imran Karim Shah overheard at the police station. “I heard the constable speaking about some missing woman from Saleem Nagar. Since I stay in the vicinity, I got curious,” Shah told TOI.