Reel to real
Remember last year's Bollywood blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan? Where its protagonist tries to take a mute six-year-old Pakistani girl back to her homeland to reunite her with her family?
A man with a magnanimous spirit, Bajrangi (Salman Khan) eventually completes his mission with the help of a Pakistani journalist, though after many ordeals.
Now meet the real-life Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Brother Bajrangi) from Bangladesh. Jamal Ibne Musa, a 52-year-old man from Barguna, has made all the arrangements to reunite an Indian boy, apparently trafficked, with his family.
But at a high price. From rescuing Sonu, 12, from the clutches of his alleged captors to finding his family in New Delhi, Musa went through a hell lot. He had to stand accused in four “false” cases, serve more than a month in jail and lose his job as a result.
In the end, however, the process of taking the boy back home is underway. The boy is now at Jessore Kishore Unnayan Kendra, a government correction centre.
According to Musa and an official at the centre, Rahima Begum and Aklima Begum of Geramardan village under Betagi upazila in Barguna tricked Sonu and brought him to Bangladesh from India in 2010. The two sisters have their relatives there.
Case documents show, Sonu is the son of Mehbub of Dilshan Garden area in the Indian capital.
“They [the alleged abductors] used to torture the boy and keep him busy with hard work around the day at my neighbour's house. I informed the police about it around three years ago,” Musa told The Daily Star by phone from New Delhi yesterday.
“But police kept mum even after visiting the house,” he alleged.
In the meantime, the boy fled the house twice but was taken back by the women's family members.
In December last year, Musa ran into Sonu, when he fled the house for the third time, on the Barguna court premises. He then took the boy under his custody and brought him to Dhaka, and spoke with police officials and rights activists about sending the boy back home.
On their advice, he took the boy to Barguna. There, with the help of the wife of a local lawmaker, he produced Sonu before a court on December 22.
But ironically, as he entered the court premises police detained him for “abducting the boy”. He was, however, released upon intervention by the court police who were aware of the matter.
Later that day, the court sent the boy to Jessore Kishore Unnayan Kendra.
Meanwhile, Rahima, Aklima and their family members filed four cases against Musa and 13 members of his family on charges of abducting Sonu and other charges.
“They [alleged kidnappers] ruined my and my family's life,” Musa regretted.
"A disaster fell on me after filing of those false cases. I lost my job as a manger of a private company in Dhaka and I was in jail for 41 days in two phases. My only son and my brother-in-law also served 19 days each.”
Nevertheless, he neither lost courage nor hope.
On May 14, he left for India to trace Sonu's family. It was an uphill task. Sonu had only given him a vague address. Even so, after four days' of search he traced his family in Seema Puri area in Dilshan Garden.
"His parents were so happy to hear the news of their missing son.”
The External Affairs Ministry of India was informed about the whole thing through the local police.
"The media here named me 'Bangladeshi Bajrangi Bhaijaan' and locals call me Bajrangi Bagaban [God]," Musa said.
In a tweet, the Indian External Affairs Minister on May 23 thanked everyone for bringing the matter to her notice and said they already initiated action in this regard.
Md Shahbuddin, an official at the correction centre, said Ramakant Gupta, first secretary (consular) of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka, visited the centre on Tuesday and Wednesday and spoke with the boy to collect necessary information.
Shahriar Alam, state minister for foreign affairs, said his ministry was already involved in the issue.
“We assured the Indian High Commission that Dhaka will extend all-out support in sending the boy back to New Delhi,” he told this newspaper.
The foreign ministry also requested the home ministry to complete all the formalities in this regard in a couple of days.
Contacted, a diplomat at the Indian mission said, “He [boy] is being treated very well at the shelter. The boy wants to go back to his parents and we are trying our best to send him back home as soon as possible.”
Barguna police, however, found nothing wrong with the alleged roles of Rahima and Aklima.
The Daily Star could not contact them for comments.
But Jahirul Islam, a sub-inspector of Betagi Police Station, said, “The boy is their nephew. As far as I know, Musa abducted the boy from their house and kept the boy with him for 20 days.”
He investigated one of the four cases filed by the two women and their family.
Rafiqul Islam, officer-in-charge of the station, said he did not know much about matter.