Islampur, March 29: It seems a straight lift from Oliver Twist.
An eight-year-old boy from Jalpaiguri, who had been sold to a gang in Nepal, was caught stealing there and is now waiting in Bihar to be brought back home.
Like Charles Dickens’s child protagonist Oliver, Bilu Goyala, too, lost his parents when he was very young and was brought up by his grandmother in the Fatapukur area of Jalpaiguri district, 150 km from here.
A month ago, one of Bilu’s neighbours had lured him to accompany him on a trip. Unaware of the man’s intentions, the boy went with him to the Himalayan kingdom where he was sold to a criminal gang at Biratnagar. Bilu, the Nepal police said, had “not even had the time to inform his grandmother of the adventure trip that he was undertaking”.
According to the officials, the gang had trained him in the art of petty theft. But while attempting a theft in a paan shop in Biratnagar, Nepal, on Saturday, he was caught red-handed.
During interrogation, the boy broke down and narrated his plight. The investigating officials then got in touch with the SSB who handed him over to the Thakurganj police in Bihar yesterday.
Confirming the incident, the commandant of the Kishanganj SSB, Sunil Chopra, said: “The Nepal police had wanted help so that they could send the boy back home. We brought him to Galgalia in Thakurganj.”
The police there then handed him over to Bihar Bhumika, an NGO, which is taking care of him now.
The problem has been aggravated by the fact that Bilu has not been able to give the address of his grandmother’s house or a contact number.
The Bihar police said they have got in touch with their Jalpaiguri counterparts.
District magistrate Pradip Sengupta said he will inquire about the man who had taken Bilu to Nepal and sold him off there.
In another development, four children, who had been taken to Delhi by a labour contractor, have been brought back recently. The children, all from Goalpokhar, had been lured with promises of jobs. A Delhi-based NGO, Bachpan Bajao, had rescued them from the capital and sent them here with police help.