Three weeks after a Bengaluru woman "disappeared" mysteriously after getting into an ambulance, she is back in the city. According to the police, she has given a statement saying that she fled Bengaluru by using the ambulance as a decoy in order to get away from her abusive husband.
Speaking to TNM, Bommanahalli Police Inspector Ravishankar said that the woman arrived in Bengaluru from New Delhi on Thursday and gave a statement that she had left on her own will, as an FIR had been registered in the matter. "She said that a friend of hers gave her the idea to hire two people and get a private ambulance. She said she was scared to live with her husband as he and her brother-in-law were physically abusive. She said that the abuse had been happening for over seven months," Inspector Ravishankar said.
The woman has said that she hired two men from Bihar, paid for renting the ambulance and also bought the PPE kits from her savings.
News that an ambulance sent by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike had picked her up had caused panic when the woman initially disappeared on September 4.
When news of her mysterious disappearance hit the papers, the woman called the Inspector Ravishankar on September 8 and informed him that she had willingly left home with the help of her friend and that she had no intention of returning as her husband and brother-in-law allegedly abused her. Her brother was apprehensive about the call to the police and had told TNM that he was waiting for her to get in touch with the family. The brother admitted that the voice on the call was the woman's, but was skeptical if she left on her own will.
Her brother-in-law had earlier told the media that they were apprehensive of the police and had also begun searching for her in New Delhi, which was, at the time, her last known location.
The police however have not filed any case on the husband. "Unless she filed a complaint alleging domestic violence, we can't register an FIR. She has not filed such a complaint yet," Ravishankar added.
On the afternoon of September 4, the 28-year-old customer service executive left her residence after two men wearing PPE arrived at with an ambulance claiming to be from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. The two men informed the woman's husband and in-laws that she was being taken for COVID-19 test, and later to a quarantine centre.
The family was informed that she could not be quarantined at home as she was "in the second stage" and that she had to be admitted to the hospital. Her family members were informed that she was at Prashanth Hospital. When the family contacted the hospital, the doctors there informed them that no such patient had been admitted. The woman's brother-in-law Vikas Kumar then filed a missing persons complaint with the Bommanahalli Police soon after.
"There is no need to panic. The ambulance was not a BBMP or government one and paramedics handling COVID-19 patients have ID cards. The patient would have been called and informed too," Inspector Ravishankar had said then.