Vigilant Women From Kolkata Suburbs Reunite Woman With Dementia With Her Family


(MENAFN- IANS) Kolkata, Feb 24 (IANS) Vigil mounted by women in a neighborhood in the northeast suburbs of Kolkata led to the miraculous rescue of a 64-year-old woman -- a dementia patient -- who had wandered nearly 7 km from her home in New Barrackpore.

The incident occurred at Khardah's Railway Park on Friday. Khardah is about 17 km from the heart of Kolkata.

For quite some time now, the neighborhood has been plagued by thefts during daytime hours when men are away at work. The women have taken it upon themselves to maintain a lookout for suspicious characters from their balconies and windows. They have also formed a WhatsApp group to communicate with each other. Around noon on Friday, one of them spotted an elderly woman moving around, apparently searching for somebody's house. The information was immediately passed on and others began to track her strange movements from one lane to another.

"It was as if she was going around in circles. Finally, she settled down outside a grocery store. This was when some of us approached her and offered water. She looked extremely tired. When we asked where she was headed to, she said that her daughter's house is nearby. However, when we asked her name, she lost her temper and started walking away. She was muttering to herself. We immediately realised that there was something wrong with her health. After much persuasion, we succeeded in taking her to Sujata Acharya's home. After a while, she had lunch and then took a long nap. When she woke up, she seemed quite friendly. We asked where she lives and she started uttering names of several places, including Khulna in Bangladesh," said Rinku Nag Biswas who also happens to be an active member of the West Bengal Radio Club, an organisation of amateur radio operators that has reunited several such people with their families.

Rinku, Sujata and the other women of the neighborhood soon realised that the elderly woman would never be able to reveal her address. They first got in touch with the Khardah and Ghola police stations to find out if anyone matching the woman's description had been reported missing from home. The police replied in the negative. The women then resumed their conversation with their guest. Suddenly, the woman dropped a hint. She spoke of Satadal School near her home. Now, there was another problem. There are two Satadal Schools. One of them in Sukchar, close to their neighborhood and the other at New Barrackpore.

"On our request, the New Barrackpore Police started checking the neighborhood around the Satadal School under their jurisdiction. Before long, they had the woman's identity and address. Her name is Sandya Rani Ray and she lives with her three sons and daughters-in-law. She also has three daughters who are married and live elsewhere. On receiving information, all three daughters-in-law rushed to our place to take her back. We handed her over after due verification," Rinku said.

Rinku and her friends Sujata, Jhumur Pal, Jhuma Saha and others are upbeat with the successful reunification of the helpless woman with her family. "We shall continue to maintain vigil, but henceforth, we shall also keep a lookout for people like Sandhya Rani Ray who may be in need for assistance," said Sujata.

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