Monday, May 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

SP’s daughter returns home
Our Correspondent

Fatehabad, May 26
The three-day long ordeal for the Fatehabad SP, Mr Hanif Qureshi, and his family members finally came to an end when his four-year-old daughter Shifa came back home safe from the captivity of her abductors. The SP told mediapersons here today that Shifa came home at about 7 am today exactly 59 hours after she was abducted by some jeep-borne miscreants from the local mini-secretariat area.

The SP, however, said he would not go into the details of the case as it was being closely monitored by his seniors. He said his daughter was in good health and had been treated well by her abductors. He said a paediatrician examined her and she was sound, both physically and psychologically.

This correspondent spoke to Shifa for half an hour after her return. She came running to the lawn, where Mr Qureshi was talking to this correspondent, with a book on her nursery rhymes in her hands and reciting “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pale of water.” On being asked where she had gone, Shifa said she had gone with an uncle who offered ladoos and fruits to her. She did not show any signs of having spent 60 hours in the custody of the abductors. She said the uncle got her a new dress and took her for a stroll to a park where she saw a green elephant.

On being asked how the child was rescued, who were her abductors and what was their fate now, the SP refused to divulge anything. He, however, said the rescuing of the child was an important step in the direction of solving the case and now the law would take its own course.

To a question, the SP denied that he had any personal animosity with the abductors of his child. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr O.P. Indora, too, was evasive in his replies and said the biggest satisfaction for the police was that the girl had returned safe. The DC and the SP denied that there was any give and take between the police and the abductors.

Reliable sources, meanwhile, revealed that the child was restored to the representatives of the SP somewhere near Bathinda in Punjab. The sources said Khem Singh, alias Khema, the main accused in the case was in constant touch with the police since the past two days. The police was also utilising the services of a mediator in this case. Khema also allowed Shifa to talk to her parents. The abductors, the sources said, had laid down several conditions before the police for the release of Shifa.

The sources said the police had released seven persons, including three women from Hisar jail, against whom cases under Section 307 of the IPC had been registered for attacking a police party.

The police had also released about 20 relatives of Khema, who were rounded up by the police in connection with this case. The sources said Shifa had been released after the police acceded to the demands of Khema. The police, according to the sources, had the safety of the child primarily in its mind.


Squall claims seven lives

Chandigarh, May 26
A high velocity squall of 105 km per hour, accompanied by hailstorms claimed seven lives and left eight others injured in a trail of destruction in parts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, reports said today.

The widespread rains last night had a silver lining. They helped extinguish a number of small and medium forest fires that had been raging in Himachal Pradesh.

Two unidentified persons were killed when lightning struck at Dholan village of Nawanshahr district of Punjab. A labourer identified as Fakiria of Bhatasinghwala village in Patiala district and two others suffered burn injuries. They have been hospitalised. UNI

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