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Stranded in lockdown, Kolkata NEET aspirant finds new family in Delhi Police ASI’s home

Sushmita Shaw had nowhere to go when the lockdown was announced, but ASI Arvind Kumar took her home. Her mother has now written a thank you letter to Delhi Police.

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New Delhi: The Covid-19 lockdown has found 21-year-old Sushmita Shaw, a medical aspirant hailing from Kolkata, a new family in the national capital.

On 24 March, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Sushmita, who was preparing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) at the Aakash Institute in Janakpuri, was left stranded. The hostel she was living at asked all students to leave, and Sushmita, who has no relatives or friends in Delhi, had nowhere to go due to the complete stop imposed on public transport.

Enter Arvind Kumar, assistant sub-inspector with the Delhi Police.

Kumar had gone to pick up his daughter, who is studying at the same institute, and upon hearing of Sushmita’s troubles, decided to bring her home too. She has since been staying with the Kumar family in Delhi.

When the lockdown was extended for the third time, Sushmita’s mother Sangeeta Shaw wrote to the Delhi Police, thanking ASI Kumar for hosting her daughter.

“They (the Kumar family) are complete strangers, even then they took my daughter home and took good care of her. I never thought that the police can go the extra mile to help. I am grateful to them,” Sangeeta told ThePrint over the phone.

After Sangeeta wrote to Delhi Police Commissioner S.N. Srivastava, thanking the force for all the help, he announced a reward of Rs 10,000 for Kumar.

“It was very nice of her to write to us. Such acknowledgement boosts the morale of the force and encourages them to have a more humane approach towards the public,” Srivastava told ThePrint.


Also read: Helping the needy, breaking old distrust: How Delhi Police stepped up amid Covid-19 crisis


Help for the ‘helpless’

Sangeeta said she had never felt as helpless as on the night of 24 March, with no way to get her daughter back home to Kolkata.

“My daughter was crying over the phone. She had nowhere to go. We could not even have arranged a flight or train or car for her return as everything got shut. I have never felt so helpless,” Sangeeta said.

“But then my daughter said Mr Kumar’s family is ready to help. Though I was a little apprehensive initially, but had no choice. I was surprised and very happy when my daughter told me over the phone that she was being well taken care of,” she said.

Speaking to ThePrint, ASI Arvind Kumar said he instinctively asked Sushmita to come and stay with his family until the lockdown ends. “I saw her crying and my daughter told me that she was stuck, so we decided to get her home,” he said.

Trying to get daughter back

Even though she knows her daughter is well, Sangeeta hasn’t stopped trying to get her back to Kolkata. For the last 40 days, she has been shuttling between government offices and police stations, just to arrange a pass to bring her daughter back home, but to no avail.

“She is being taken care of very well in Delhi, but we still want her to return home in this time of crisis,” Sangeeta said.

“Since the lockdown has been announced, I have been running from pillar to post to arrange some means to get Sushmita back. We thought that it would be lifted on 14 April, so we got a flight ticket done, but that too was cancelled,” she said.

“I went to the commissioner, district collector’s office and police station to get a pass so that we could get her home, but it could not be arranged. So many buses and trains are now being arranged, but nothing between Delhi and West Bengal. I am getting very impatient as a mother, even slipping into depression,” she said.

Sangeeta has now requested the Delhi Police to help her arrange a pass so that she can drive down to the capital and take her daughter back.

“I know that it will be a long journey and we will have to be quarantined on our return, but I am ready to do it,” she said.

Acting on her request, the Delhi Police Commissioner has now contacted the DGP West Bengal to help the family find a way to reach Delhi.

Concerned about daughter’s future

Sangeeta also said the indefinite postponement of the NEET has her concerned about Sushmita’s future. The exam was to be held on 5 May.

“The exam is not going to be held anytime soon. We really hope and pray that Sushmita returns home soon,” she said.


Also read: ‘Dil Ki Police’: Delhi Police Twitter handle gets colourful makeover to motivate ground staff


 

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