How Jaipur’s teenage sisters ran away from home, found a dream job and were found by cops 2 months later


Jaipur: They were a pair of 16- and 17-year-old sisters, daughters of lawyers with good grades — but also with “entrepreneurial” dreams in mind. In February, the two escaped from their school and took a train to Lucknow, 574 km away. It would take 56 days before they were found; they were now working with a private company, selling insect repellents for a 15% commission.

This is the story of their third and only successful attempt to flee their home in Jaipur, when they managed to evade search for almost two months.

The girls moved out on February 3, after their father, a lawyer, dropped them off at school. They lied to their teachers that someone was unwell at home and ran away.

Their disappearance provoked massive protests from lawyers, who demanded prompt action by the police and a special investigation team (SIT) to find them. Jaipur Police formed seven teams and worked in tandem with Lucknow Police. It was after an intense search and digitization of 1,000 hours of CCTV footage that the girls were found.

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From Jaipur to Lucknow

“In the morning I dropped them off at school, but when they didn’t come back we freaked out,” the 50-year-old father told ThePrint. The girls had turned off their phones, and after waiting a while, the father filed a complaint with the Mahesh Nagar Police Station under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 363 (kidnapping punishment) and 366-A ( power of attorney for a minor girl).

The girls, meanwhile, were on a train to Lucknow, with around 7,000 rupees in cash and no contacts in town – or even tickets. They were soon caught by the Traveling Ticket Examiner (TTE), who fined them Rs 2,500.

When they arrived in Lucknow on February 4, they got into an autorickshaw and called a former Sanskrit teacher from their school, saying their grandmother was sick and asking for 30,000 rupees.

The 70-year-old teacher immediately notified school authorities and the police. However, before they could be found, the girls changed location and disappeared again until March 25.

But this call was the first ray of hope. The number was traced to Lucknow – their location confirmed for the first time.

Speaking to ThePrint, DCP Jaipur (South) Mridul Kachawa said: “Once we received reports that they were in Lucknow, we started deploying teams. The girls had turned off their cell phones and left of their own accord, which is why they were nowhere to be found.

Seven teams were formed, with over 100 officers deployed to Lucknow and additional forces sent to Delhi, Kanpur and Kota.

Meanwhile, the sisters, who stayed as paying guests for four days while looking for jobs, soon found a hoard looking for girls for sales jobs and joined one of these projects. . As part of their work, they were also hosted by the company. “They always covered their faces to evade identification,” their mother said.

Finally, on March 25, police recovered CCTV footage showing the girls, dated March 15. After contacting local traders, investigators focused on the Gundwa area of ​​Lucknow and found Growup Group, the company that employed the sisters. The girls were finally identified on March 30.

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Seeking to broaden their horizons

Once their identity was confirmed, the sisters were taken back to Jaipur. But it took a lot of cajoling.

In statements to police, the girls said they ran away to escape the “toxic” environment of the home.

“They said the environment in their house was not conducive to growth,” a senior police officer said.

The father had filed a civil writ (habeas corpus) petition in the High Court of Rajasthan seeking custody of the girls.

In its order granting custody to the father, the court noted that the girls left voluntarily and the parents then agreed to let them return to Lucknow. “The girls said that now their parents have agreed to fulfill their dreams and take them to Lucknow, where both girls want to stay and work,” he observed.

“The petitioner also assured the court that no misconduct or harm would be caused to the girls. On the assurance given by the petitioner, the girls were released to the petitioner,” the court said, appreciating the efforts made by the police to find them.

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A teacher, her son and the employer

The parents suspect their daughters of having been manipulated by former teachers, including the septuagenarian, whom they had contacted in Lucknow.

“They were brainwashed by the teacher. What is the entrepreneurial spirit in there? They left their studies and went to sell pest control products. They were exploited there – it was a labor racket. Because they were young, they wouldn’t have more money and ask fewer questions,” the father said, alleging the teacher’s son was involved. However, DCP Kachawa denied these allegations.

Speaking to ThePrint, the 70-year-old teacher said: ‘I have over three decades of teaching experience. During the confinement, they were in contact with me. I even helped them in Sanskrit. All teachers want their students to do well, and we tell them to aspire and be ambitious. This does not mean that we are asking them to flee their homes. When they contacted me, I immediately notified the police,” the teacher said.

About her son, the teacher said: “He is a 50-year-old man who has a 22-year-old daughter. He doesn’t even know them. He had been in Riyadh for years and returned seven years ago. I’m upset about my son’s name in all of this.

Police confirmed the girls were unharmed and said their employer had taken good care of them. “He was brought from Lucknow and released after questioning. Nothing was found against him and the girls had also made statements in his favour,” the senior police officer said, adding that the police were still aware of the employer.

Speaking to ThePrint, Suman Sharma, head of the Rajasthan State Commission for Women, said the girls appeared to have been misled by the internet. “They will be taken by their mother on April 16 to Lucknow. They did a two-month training there, out of the six months,” she said.

“Both girls are extremely ambitious but at the same time have no understanding of the reality on the ground. The excessive use of internet and Google seems to have corrupted their minds,” Sharma said.

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Third attempt, fake IDs

When ThePrint visited the girls’ home on April 3, their parents said they were studying for their exams in the upstairs room. They have two older sisters – one is 25 and married, and the other is a 22-year-old Ayurveda student. They also have a 13-year-old brother.

The 22-year-old sister has dismissed allegations that their home is toxic and not a place to grow. “The 16-year-old got 96% in Class 10. The 17-year-old got 93%. If everything here is so negative and toxic, how did they manage to get such glowing scores,” she asked.

According to the family, the 16-year-old had previously aspired to become an IAS officer after appearing for the entrance medical test, NEET. The 17-year-old – who turned 18 on Sunday – wanted to be a fashion designer.

Jaipur police sources said it was the girls’ third attempt. “They had planned for October but it didn’t materialize. Again on November 3, they went to the station but did not board the train,” the officer said.

The girls, according to police, had visited a temple before leaving for Lucknow. “They made vouchers with ‘Chennai’, ‘Mumbai’ and ‘Lucknow’ written on them and then chose Lucknow. This is how they decided where their destination would be,” said DCP Kachawa. He added that the girls were looking for jobs online using fake social media accounts.

When asked if they had carried any clothes, the mother said: ‘They had put one or two pairs of clothes in their backpack. We had no idea what their plan was, the two are very close.”

The parents said the girls never expressed their ambitions to become entrepreneurs to them.

When asked if the girls had apologized for their disappearance, the mother replied: “Right now they are in the rebellion zone. They think this sales training means building a business. We’ll take them to Lucknow and see for ourselves what it’s all about”.

“We gave them their space,” the father said.

(Edited by Manoj Ramachandran)

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