KOLKATA: For over one-and-a-half years, he roamed the streets of the border town of Hasnabad in Bengal’s North 24-Parganas. A few days ago, even as riots were raging in Delhi, Jaleel Mohamad was spotted by local trader Sushanta Ghosh, who took him home.
Ghosh knew that Jaleel was a Muslim, but could not figure out where his home was. Jaleel, suffering from a mental disorder, could provide little assistance.
Now, he has a home to go back to, thanks to the good samaritan, and with a little help from HAM radio operators. But it’s a classic case of so near, yet so far.
“Ghosh has been helping people found loitering at Hasnabad station and the surroundings for quite some time now,” said Ambarish Nag Biswas, the secretary of West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC).
“When Sushanta Ghosh can’t make out their language, he gets in touch with us,” said Ambarish Nag Biswas, the secretary of West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC). “This is what happened in Jaleel’s case. He felt that Jaleel was speaking Telugu and wanted us to check it out. We recorded his voice and circulated it through HAM radio across the country till our friends in Kerala identified it as Malayalam. We also got radio operators in Kerala to speak to Jaleel. He gave them three addresses. The amateur radio buffs in Kerala then got to work and traced Jaleel to Manappally in Kollam district.”
But reunification with family was not to be an easy task. When amateur radio operators from Kerala tried to approach Manappally, they were dissuaded from doing so by the authorities. The area is apparently home to several people who work in the Gulf, and many of them have returned home following the Covid-19 scare. The area has been virtually under quarantine. Jaleel’s own brother, too, has returned from the Gulf.
“Despite all this, our friend Subba from Kerala located his home and spoke to Jaleel’s family. Apart from his brother, he has a mother, wife and two children, 17 and 13 years old. They are an affluent family and we got Jaleel to speak to his mother. Jaleel broke down in tears. However, authorities there have made it clear that nobody is to leave Manappally. People will also not be allowed to enter for the time being. Jaleel’s brother kept on appealing to us to send him back home with somebody, for which he is ready to bear the expenses. However, that may not be possible at the moment,” Nag Biswas added.
Finally, WBRC got in touch with authorities in Bengal. According to an official, orders have been passed to transfer Jaleel to a state-run shelter till the situation improves. “We can’t take a risk at the moment. The Kerala government is not keen to allow him to enter the state. We also don’t want a suspect from Kerala to enter Bengal. Till the situation improves, Jaleel will be well taken care of,” said a source in Nabanna.