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Instead of culprit, Kurla cops chase rumours

People in the area have been on the edge ever since nine-year-old Nusrat Shaikh’s body was found on June 19 at a shanty in Vatsalatai Nagar.

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‘Another girl abducted from Vatsalatai Nagar’, ‘Rapist spotted near Kurla railway station’. The rumour mill in Kurla seems to be working overtime, taking the Nehru Nagar police away from finding the real culprit.

People in the area have been on the edge ever since nine-year-old Nusrat Shaikh’s body was found on June 19 at a shanty in Vatsalatai Nagar.

The Nehru Nagar police say they receive at least two to three fake alerts in a day. “We have been receiving several calls from locals and informers who sometimes ask about the arrested accused or want to check if some other girl has gone missing or has been abducted,” a senior officer said.

“If parents can’t find their kids at home or at the neighbour’s, they make frantic calls to the police. The news spread and creates an almost panic-like situation.”

A police team is then immediately sent to the spot. “By the time we reach there, the child has usually returned home,” the officer said, adding, that these rumours are hampering the investigation.

“The day after Nusrat’s body was found, we received calls from our senior officers and journalists that another minor girl had been abducted,” said another officer from Zone VI. “Half the day was spent explaining to them that no such case had taken place and it was just a rumour.”

The officer said that even though there was no police complaint or report, a team of officers was sent to the spot. “No child was missing. We could have used the time for investigating the old case,” he said.

Fear seems to have gripped the residents of Alidada Compound and Vatsalatai Nagar. “Every day we hear that a girl has gone missing. After three incidents, it is very difficult for us to dismiss such news as a rumour,” said Imran, a biscuit trader from Alidada Compound.

Rishikesh Jaiswal, father of Anjali, the second victim whose body was found on the terrace of the police quarters in March, said “People are not spreading these rumours for fun; it is fear. Everyone knows that the killer is still at large and the police have failed to nab him.”

However, police officers deployed at several slums and other places are now appealing to locals to not spread rumours as it creates panic in the locality and wastes their time.

Meanwhile, police commissioner Sanjeev Dayal visited the spot where Nusrat's body was found and the Nehru Nagar police station on Sunday evening to boost the morale of the policemen.

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