In the last five months, Vinod Gupta has visited many stations and boarded countless trains. With his family, he has frantically been looking for his 16-year-old son, Tarun, who went missing on 1 October 2019 from outside their home in Mumbai’s Colaba.
Tarun has been diagnosed with autism, speech impairment and low vision. He has been sighted in stations across Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. The last Tarun was spotted was at Jamnagar Railway Station in Gujarat and his nose and lips were allegedly bleeding. This has only made the family more worried.
“He reached Jamnagar around December end. He boarded a train from Ahmedabad or a place near the city. He was in an AC coach and the attendant told us that Tarun was bleeding. He was trying to get off the train but he couldn’t till he reached Jamnagar as that’s the last stop. Many people saw him over there.”Vinod Gupta
Gupta is trying to track his son from CCTV grabs, talking to railway staff and even auto-rickshaw drivers. But CCTV footage of railway stations hasn’t been of much help as it is deleted every 15 days.
Gupta is now convinced that Tarun has not left the railway network and is travelling from station to station.
“He’s going from one station to another as he keeps taking the train. He stays at the station itself, asks for food, and sleeps near the garbage pile for two or three days and then leaves the place. Many people like auto-rickshaw drivers and policemen told me this. People who saw him, gave him food to eat.”Vinod Gupta, Tarun’s father
Last week, Gupta took to Twitter to urge Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Director General of the Railway Police Force (RPF) Arun Kumar to help find his missing son.
Tarun Is Still Missing Due to RPF Negligence
Tarun went missing at around 10:30 am on 1 October 2019 after he ended up at CST Station while dancing in an election rally. His parents filed an FIR on the same day when he did not return home.
The timeline put together through CCTV grabs and passengers’ accounts during the investigation revealed that Tarun boarded a train from CST Station that took him to Panvel in Navi Mumbai. He remained at the Panvel Station for two days – on 1 and 2 October. But on 2 October, he was forcefully pushed into the luggage compartment of the Tutari Express by an RPF personnel when he asked for help. Tutari Express runs between Mumbai and Sawantwadi in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra.
Asharaf KK, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner of the RPF, had earlier told The Quint that an inquiry had been ordered against the personnel who had bundled Tarun into the luggage compartment.
“In the CCTV footage, we, of course, found that he was put in the luggage compartment but when we enquired with the constable, he said that there’s no space available in the general compartment and the boy was taken to the luggage compartment. That is not at all the correct way of dealing with it.”Asharaf KK
He stated the SOP clearly says that if a minor is found unattended at the station, s/he should be rescued and taken to the RPF office and the station authority should be informed. The authorities are then to get in touch with CWC officials who are to hand over the child to his/her parents.
Tarun was spotted on CCTV footage in Sawantwadi Station, before his recent sighting at Jamnagar.
“I got a call from Navi Mumbai a few days ago about him being sighted and we are trying to verify that. Some people are claiming that they saw him near Turbhe and Ghansoli station. The information isn’t confirmed yet. I went there too and I’ve put up posters and we are going to every station to find him. We’re expecting a call from them today. If we don’t get a call, I’ll head to Rajasthan, MP and Punjab to look for him.”Vinod Gupta
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