A three-year-old girl, Jahnvi Ahuja, who went missing from Delhi’s India Gate on September 28, was found on Sunday, her head shaved and a placard around her neck with her name.
“It feels like my daughter was reborn,” Rajesh Ahuja said, holding his little daughter on Sunday night.
The child was with her family at the crowded lawns near the India Gate memorial when she disappeared while playing. Police are now examining footage from one of the 40 CCTV cameras at India Gate that shows the girl – dressed in a white frock – roaming alone around 9:20 pm before she went disappeared.
According to the police, a passer-by spotted Jahnvi 15 km from her home, near a gurudwara in Janakpuri in west Delhi. Her uncle identified her at the Mayapuri police station in west Delhi.
Jahnvi did not seem scared when she was found, police said. She could only say she was taken in a car.
The girl’s family had suspected that she had been kidnapped, but said they hadn’t received any call for ransom in the last seven days. A poster with her photo, along with an appeal to help trace her, soon went viral on social media.
“This is not a kidnapping case for ransom… This could be a childless couple who took the child… I think once the news got viral, they got scared and did this. We are also looking at an organised gang angle,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) SBS Tyagi.
The family and relatives of the girl had held a protest on Saturday night at India Gate.
Jahnvi’s disappearance had led to questions about safety of children in one of the most popular family haunts in Delhi, where the lighting is often patchy and security appears too inadequate for the surging crowds on weekends.