Father courage saved the day for his teenaged girl, on Tuesday afternoon, and scripted a rare chapter of bravery on the streets of Calcutta.
An attempt to kidnap the 15-year-old in broad daylight, in south Garia, was thwarted after her father chased the armed abductors and not only rescued the girl, but also managed to catch one of the goons. Later, the abductor was nearly lynched.
Police said the girl was returning home from school on her father’s bicycle, when a Maruti van stopped in front of them. Four youths, armed with revolvers, jumped out and yanked the girl off the bicycle. When her father protested, two of the goons attacked him, while the others dragged the girl into the waiting vehicle.
“Please let me go. Papa, help me,” yelled the girl, as the vehicle sped off, with the father chasing it on his bicycle and shouting: “Stop them. They are taking my daughter away.” Some youths in the area realised what was happening and joined the father in the pursuit.
After a few hundred metres, the Maruti van failed to negotiate a bend at high speed and stalled, forcing the goons to jump out. They stopped an auto-rickshaw at gunpoint. “Udayda, are you behind this'” yelled out the girl, suggesting that she had recognised one of her captors, additional superintendent of police (ASP) S.S. Panda, who is overseeing the case, later said.
Before the auto could speed away, the girl’s father, along with a few local youths, caught up and managed to snatch the girl from her abductors. They also managed to pin down one of the goons, while the rest fled in the three-wheeler.
The goon was locked up inside the girl’s school till a police team arrived from Baruipur thana. But it was outnumbered by a mob, that demanded the criminal be handed over to them for “justice”. The doors of the classroom were smashed and the goon severely thrashed, while the police watched.
“He has been admitted to a local hospital, where his condition is said to be serious. We have only come to know that he is from Howrah,” said ASP Panda. “We are interrogating the girl and her father to piece together the sequence of events, track the other abductors, and get to the bottom of the case.”