Tirupati: Fatigue after the pilgrimage to Tirumala and Tirupati, which makes parents of babies sleepy-eyed, has come in handy for professional kidnappers who are always on the prowl, waiting for the right moment to make the snatch. Most of the babies have been kidnapped when their tired parents have dozed off or busy trying to find the conveyance back home at bus and railway stations.
The recent abduction of 11-month-old baby boy Yeswanth by a woman from the Madhavam amenities complex on Saturday night, while he was sleeping besides his mother is the most glaring example. Similarly, an 8-month-old boy Prathyuth from Chennai was also taken away while his parents were asleep at the same place two months ago. Prathyuth is yet to be traced.
Also, 30-month-old Sivakesav Reddy was abducted from Tirupati railway station four months ago, while he was sleeping along with his parents on railway platform waiting for a train. A number of similar incidents have occurred near the TTD amenities complexes on and off Tirumala hills. Sometimes parents have been forced to wait anywhere between 12 to 24 hours in queue to have darshan of Lord Venkateswara. The result is that the mother invariably dozes off with the child in her lap.
Speaking to Express Tirupati urban SP, J Prabhakar Rao says the kidnappers seek the right moment when the parents and others in the group have gone to sleep. Apart from it, negligence on part of the parents in complaining to the police about their child being kidnapped causes delay in the police swinging into action, he said. The police officer advised pilgrims that they should be careful while sleeping in open places on Tirumala and in Tirupati.
After coming to know that their child is missing, the panicked parents search for their child on their own and when their search proves futile, they inform TTD staff. And only after that do they approach police. This delay causes loss of valuable time, to trace the baby. It is not a tough task for the police to trace the whereabouts of baby on Tirumala Hills, if the parents inform police immediately, as far as Tirumala is concerned. All the routes can be closed and rapid search operations can be launched without any delay, he observed.
He said that he had brought it to the notice of TTD authorities to inform the police immediately about any missing case and further added that there is need for more number of cctvs in several parts of Tirumala and Tirupati. He pointed out that during interrogation the kidnappers had revealed their modus operandi of kidnapping and had stated that the child was snatched when the parents were asleep.
Prabhakar Rao has advised general public to be vigilant and said that at all times, atleast one member of the family/group should be awake and on guard. Underling the importance of surveillance cameras at all busy places on Tirumala and in Tirupati, he said cctv footage is now key to nabbing kidnappers of Yeswanth and Sivakeshava and rescuing the babies.