Surprisingly, the homeless man who identified himself as Trideep Das (56), spoke fluent Hindi, English and Bengali and informed that he is a B.Com graduate from West Bengal(WB). When asked what he was doing at Carter road without any clothes or money, he merely said: “A jyotish (fortune teller) told me that my time is up; I will die tonight here.”
It was obvious that he was mentally disoriented; but when asked about details of any family member, he gave the name and mobile number of his Kolkata based nephew, Somadeep Das. When TOI called up that number, it rightly turned out to be of his nephew who stated that his uncle had been missing from WB for over two months. He urged TOI to accommodate Das somewhere till he can return back home.
New Panvel based Social and Evangelical Association for Love (SEAL) agreed to admit Das at their rescue shelter, till the time he is reunited with his family.
“Often, by simply talking nicely to mentally disturbed homeless people, they come up with important clues in order to trace their home and family, as is seen in the latest Carter road case. People in general tend to ignore such victims due to their shabby appearance, or are perhaps too busy to help them. That is why the government must set up a Homeless Helpline in order to help people like Das,” said the founder of SEAL, Pastor K M Philip.
Philip further stressed: “We are currently developing a computerized application called “Rescunite” in order to trace the families of a maximum number of homeless persons. Also, we have written an urgent demand to the union government to include the category of Missing Persons in the upcoming Census questionnaire. It is very important for missing persons to be included in the census so that our nation will have a firm knowledge of the quantum of those missing and homeless.”
Animal activist Sneha Visaria of Just Smile Charitable Trust, told TOI: “I was also present at Carter road for the animal rights event. When I came to know about this homeless man from TOI, I rushed to Bandra police station to give him some food and water, and arrange for a taxi to take him to the Panvel shelter. It is marvelous that Das’s family member could be found so soon., despite his mental issue. I tried to calm him down and urged him not to believe any fortune teller again, as that has damaged him a lot.”
The founder of SEAL Ashram in New Panvel, Pastor K M Philip said that for the upcoming national exercise of Census, the names of missing persons must be counted in this vast list. “The names, ages and gender of the missing persons must be included in the census; and also for how long they are missing. This will help tremendously to find these lost souls,” said Philip.
The nationwide census counting exercise is likely to begin by end of this year or early next year. It was delayed due to the Covid pandemic in 2020.