Just hours before the BMC filed an affidavit in the Bombay high court on Monday claiming that all its hospitals are now safe, a two-month-old baby boy was allegedly kidnapped from a civic-run primary health care centre in Govandi by a burkha-clad woman.
When the affidavit was filed, the judges remarked, “Last occasion we asked for a compliance report, and the next day we read (in newspapers) a baby was stolen”.
According to police sources, the primary health care centre is located at Shivaji Nagar in Govandi.
Officers said that around 10:30am, Baiganwadi resident Munni Ansari, 27, had gone there for a check-up along with her sons Shahid and Tahir, 8. After being diagnosed by a doctor, she handed over a crying Shahid to Tahir as she stood in a queue to collect medicines.
“I had kept my eyes on my sons. It happened just when I shifted my attention during my turn at the medicine window,” said Munni.
The sources said that Tahir took Shahid to the hospital gate where the infant fell asleep. “It was then a burkha-clad woman approached Tahir and asked him to get a paan from a nearby shop,” said a police officer. “When Tahir refused saying that his mother would shout at him, the accused said that she knew Munni and would tell her not to scold him.”
The accused gave Tahir a Rs10 note to get the paan. “Tahir handed over the baby to her and went out to the nearest paan shop,” said senior police inspector D Jodgujari of Shivaji Nagar police station. On his return, when Tahir found the accused missing, he informed his mother about it.
A case of kidnapping was lodged at Shivaji Nagar police station.
“This is shocking. The court is trying to streamline the security arrangements in hospitals and on the very day when the BMC files a compliance report, there is another theft. The BMC seems to have learnt nothing from the past,” said Amit Karkhanis, advocate for Mohan Nerurkar, whose child was stolen from Sion Hospital in January 2009.
This is the third incident in over a month’s time and the accused in all the three cases used a similar modus operandi. The other two incidents happened on October 15.
In one of the incidents, a burkha-clad woman allegedly kidnapped a two-month-old boy from VN Desai Hospital in Santa Cruz when the mother was standing in a queue to take medicine, leaving the child with her aged mother-in-law.
The second incident occurred in the waiting room of CST when a burkha-clad woman, after befriending a 31-year-old woman from Pune, fled with her six-day-old girl.