If you, like most of us, use WhatsApp, youâ€™d have come across messages about missing persons or those in need of help.
While the authenticity of such messages cannot always be established, one particular case from Bengaluru has proved that the medium is not entirely futile. Two children, a brother-sister pair, from Bengaluru, were kidnapped and taken to Tirupati by the accused.
Even as their frantic father searched for them, they were found a few days later, all thanks to a viral WhatsApp message, SN Ganesh, a Sanjaynagar police official confirmed to TNM.
The incident happened on October 25. It was a usual day for the siblings Namrata (7) and Namit (5). As per their routine, they had come to visit their grandfather, Nagaraj, after school in Hebbal, Bengaluru.
Nagaraj, like his son-in-law and the childrenâ€™s father Prashanth, is a coconut vendor. The kids were spending time with their grandfather when one Vinod came to a scrap shop nearby. Vinod, a rag picker, was a frequent visitor and even friendly with Nagaraj. He knew the children and often bought them sweets, reported TOI.
So, when he told the kids that day to come with him for sweets, no one found it suspicious, until Namrata and Naman failed to return even after many hours.
Apparently, Vinod took the children to a bakery near Bhupasandra bus stand. As promised, he bought them some snacks and then took them in an auto to Yeshwanthpur. He then boarded a train to Tirupati and took the children with him, reported Newsable. The childrenâ€™s father Prashanth, contacted the Sanjaynagar police. The police told him to send Naman and Namrataâ€™s photographs on WhatsApp in hopes that someone would have seen them and they would get some leads.
Sick with worry, Prashanth took his friend Avinashâ€™s help and sent the message along with his missing childrenâ€™s photos to everyone he knew on WhatsApp.
Police official Ganesh told TNM that he was begging in Tirupati with the children but once people became suspicious he had kidnapped them, he abandoned Naman and Namrata.
A man called Venkatesh saw the children then. And turns out he was also one of the recipients of the WhatsApp message and also a distant family friend of Prashanth's.
Venkatesh quickly informed the police and once Prashanth confirmed that they were indeed his children, the police kicked into action to secure Naman and Namrata.
Two police officials went to Tirupati on Wednesday and on Thursday, Naman and Namrata were finally reunited with their parents in Bengaluru.