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Red Cross rescues, reunites missing woman with her family

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Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, May 19:

A 33-year-old woman from Mayurbhanj distrct in Odisha, who had gone missing since July 2010, was finally united with her family- thanks to the commendable efforts by some members of the Odisha unit of the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS-OSB) who went out of their way to rescue her from a mental home in Maharashtra.

Sambhari Singh
Sambhari Singh

According to reports, Sambhari Singh, who hails from Paikajujapura village under the Baisinga police limits in Mayurbhanj district had left her husband Kunu Singh in January 2010 following a fight and stayed at her parental home for the next six months until July 2010 when she suddenly disappeared one evening.

She could not be traced despite a desperate search by the family members for several weeks.

“We had almost given up on her and never thought we would see her ever again, Harish Chandra Singh, Sambhari’s brother told OST. He thanked the members of the Indian Red Cross (IRS) for their support in rescuing his sister and bringing her back home.

It was the Yuva Red Cross counselor and secretary of the Boudh unit of the IRCS-ORB Prabir Kumar Das, who was first tipped off about Sambhari’s presence in the Regional Mental Hospital (RMH) of Thane in Maharashtra, by a Thane-based social worker Surekha Wathore.

Sambhari case“I had met Wathore in a workshop in Thane some years ago and made friendship with her. It was she who informed me about Sambhari and played a crucial role in her reunion with her family,” Das said.

“We then decided to take action and contacted a political science teacher Sudhir Chandra Jena who was working in Mayurbhanj to trace her family and report the matter not only to them but also the police and the district administration,” said Das.

Finally on May 14 a team of Red Cross’ Family News Service (FNS) along with Sambhari’s brother Harischandra and uncle Charuchandra Singh went to RMH hospital in Thane to fetch her with the help of the Maharashtra unit of the Red Cross.

FNS is a special programme of Red Cross which came into being soon after the Second World War to trace persons who go missing after war, disaster, conflict or migration.

“She is mentally fine but physically not fit to walk due to unknown reasons. She has been given a wheelchair by the RMH hospital and very soon we will take care of her medical treatment and rehabilitation with the help of the state government under FNS scheme,” said Dr Mangala Prasad Mohanty, Honorary Secretary, IRCS-OSB.

Dr Mohanty said the IRCS-OSB was successful in getting a person called Benudhar Pradhan of Bhairathipur of Athagarh in Cuttack district released from a Pakistani jail and reuniting him with his family on March 14,2012. This is the third such rescue effort conducted by the Red Cross, Odisha branch, he said.