Man from Chennai shelter reunited with family in Bihar after 11 years

Sree Bhagwan, fifth from right, reunited with his family at Ramgarh village in Bihar.

Sree Bhagwan, fifth from right, reunited with his family at Ramgarh village in Bihar. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

In a story spanning two States, aided by the tireless efforts of the staff at the shelter he was housed in and a sudden stroke of luck, a 32-year-old man was reunited with his family in Bihar earlier this week, nearly 11 years after he went missing from his native village. 

Sree Bhagwan was rescued by The Banyan’s Rural Mental Health Project Team in Kovalam six years ago. He has an intellectual disability and is hard of hearing in one ear, and volunteers initially found it hard to communicate with him. He was initially taken to a shelter in Santhome, and a year ago moved to the Shelter for the Homeless in K.K. Nagar run by The Banyan, Greater Chennai Corporation, and HCL Foundation. 

“He would speak in a low voice and we were struggling to understand what he was saying. We knew that he was from north India, but no other information, including his name, was known. He would constantly repeat the same word as well,” said Adarsh Babu, shelter coordinator at K.K. Nagar. 

Mr. Adarsh said that he was named ‘Kadhir’ at the shelter and that he soon developed a good rapport with the other residents as well as the staff. “We would constantly keep engaging with him, trying to help him share information about his hometown. When we were mentioning places in Bihar, he recognised his village’s name - Ramgarh.” 

He was soon also able to share his sister’s name. Armed with this information alone and little else, Mr. Adarash and two shelter staff decided to visit Bihar. “The remote village is a four-hour journey from Patna and we reached a police station nearby. While the police there had no other information, they promised to help us out,” Mr. Adarsh said. 

It was there, while waiting, that the team happened to see a person walk in whom Bhagawan immediately waved to. When they spoke to the man, he recognised Bhagwan and said that he was a distant relative and knew his father. The family was immediately contacted and they rushed to the police station. 

“It was a tearful reunion for the family, who then told us that he was missing for almost 11 years. We were immediately taken to the village with Bhagawan and two days ago he was back home with all his family members. He even recognised and was happy to see the cow the family owns,” said Mr Adarsh. 

His father, who is a farmer, told the team that they were extremely thankful and happy to have him back home.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2022 11:01:39 am |