A boy played braveheart to first escape the clutches of a kidnapper and then orchestrate his arrest.
Raju Sharma, 12, outwitted a man who tried to kidnap him near the busy crossing of Ballygunge Circular Road and Ritchie Road on Friday morning, before helping his father and a group of local residents trap the goon and hand him over to the police.
Raju, a student of Class VII at Khalsa High School, was walking back home (22 Deodar Street) from school, around 9.45 am, when he was stopped by a man who identified himself as his cousin.
“I had never seen him before and became suspicious. He started asking me about my family,” said Raju, recounting the kidnap bid at Ballygunge police station, along with his parents.
“The man brought out a wooden ball wrapped in a handkerchief. It smelt sweet and I started feeling dizzy,” said Raju, the eldest of two brothers and a sister. Quick to sense that the ‘cousin’ was up to no good, the boy freed himself from his clutches and started running, desperation driving him on despite the dizziness.
When Narayan Sharma, Raju’s father, heard of the incident, he rushed to the spot with his son.
A television mechanic by profession, he chased the man Raju pointed out, and was soon joined by a few local residents. Together, they caught the ‘kidnapper’, whom police identified later as Abdul Suvan. The crowd, which first beat him up, later handed him over to the police. “We have lodged a case against him and sent him to hospital,” said Shyamal Sengupta, additional officer-in-charge of Ballygunge police station.
Police said they were investigating whether a gang of kidnappers was operating in the area. “We will interrogate Abdul about his companions, who, we think, were close by,” a police officer said.
Narayan Sharma told police that the kidnapper was probably shadowing his son for the past few days. The school at Bhowanipore is close to Deodar Street where the family lives. Usually, Raju cycles to school. “But for the past three days he could not take his bicycle as one of the tyres was punctured,” he said. So, he would take Raju to school on his two-wheeler while the boy walked back home.
Raju’s mother, Anita Sharma, was shocked by the incident. “I have been praying ever since I heard what happened to my son,” she said.
Shop-owners of the area said they did not realise that something was amiss till the boy raised an alarm.