Two boys in uniform allegedly fled from their Vasai school and took a local train to Mumbai on Friday morning. The minors were rescued by a woman commuter who pulled the chain and alerted the Bhayander railway cops.
The boys aged seven and nine, were living in an orphanage in Vasai (West) for eight months and attended a day school in Manickpur, Vasai.
Dressed in school uniform, they boarded the first class ladies compartment of the 10.26 am Churchgate-bound fast train on platform 3 at Vasai. A Vasai resident Kavita Chaudhari (28) who had boarded the train before them, learnt the boys were unaccompanied and wanted to alight at Borivli. “I found something amiss as they were not just unaccompanied, they did not have their school bags and identity cards on them,” said Chaudhari, who along with other women commuters, began questioning the children.
“While the boys said they were headed home, they were unable to give details about their school or home. That is when I pulled the chain as the train was nearing Bhayander railway station,” said Chaudhari, a project manager with a private firm in Marol, Andheri.
Bhayander Railway Protection Force (RPF) inspector Sudhir Agnihotri told TOI, “The boys are believed to have fled from school and had boarded the first class ladies compartment.” They were handed over to the Vasai Government Railway Police (GRP) where a diary entry of the incident was made.
Police said the class third and fourth students are residents of Malad and Bhiwandi respectively . The seven-year-old’s father works in a hotel in Malad. He was sent to the Vasai orphanage as his father was unable to meet his expenses. The nine-year-old boy had lost his mother and his father abandoned him. A resident of Bhiwandi, his grandmother decided to put him in the Vasai orphanage as she was unable to meet ends herself.
On Friday morning, the boys left the orphanage for school. Once inside the school premises, they left behind their school bags and stepped out of the main gate when the security guard turned away. They reached the station and boarded the ladies compartment. According to Chaudhari, who has a 10-month-old daughter, the boys told her an uncle had promised them chocolates and was in the next second-class compartment. Police said the claim could not be verified.
Police said the boys were fed up of staying in the orphanage and wanted to step out and see the outside world. The nine-year-old told police that he wanted to become a dancer and left the orphanage to try his luck. The seven-year-old agreed to accompany him.
The boys were served biscuits and vada pav at the railway police station.School authorities reached the police station and the boys’ families were also called. The boys were later sent to the orphanage by evening.