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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Daylight Robbers of Mumbai's Tourist Buses




Daylight Robbers of Mumbai's Tourist Buses
 
    My brother, Prakash Jaisinghani, is a retired businessman who is settled in Spain along with his family consisting of his wife and three daughters. He had come to India recently, and had been staying with his sister in Mumbai for some weeks. My brother, who is 66 years old, looks like a saintly person with his grey hair and a full beard on his face. He spends a lot of his time by going to satsangs and spiritual gatherings every day. Last month, my brother had decided to attend the Radhasoami Satsang, which was to be held in Wagholi, near Pune, on April 7th and 8th. 
 
    On 6 April 2012, my brother travelled by a bus from Mumbai to Pune through the services of Sarvas Shakti Krupa Travels in Dadar. He was given a ticket for a bus with registration plate MH16Q 8118 belonging to Balaji Travels. My brother's suitcase was kept in the luggage compartment before he boarded the bus. The bus left Dadar, Mumbai, at about 10 AM.
 
    When the bus reached Pune at about 1-45 PM, my brother was extremely shocked to find that his suitcase was missing from the luggage compartment. My brother was told by the bus driver that the suitcase must have fallen somewhere on the way between Mumbai and Pune, as the luggage compartment was not locked. Only my brother's suitcase was missing, but not any luggage of any other passenger. 
 
    My brother's suitcase was of foreign brand and had labels of international airlines on it. The stolen suitcase contained clothes like imported jeans and many new shirts, CD player, CDs of Radhasoami Satsang Beas, wrist-watch, etc.
 
    The most important item in the suitcase was the framed picture of our maternal grandfather, which was made more than 80 years back in Sindh. That was the only photo we had of our maternal grandfather.
 
    My brother was not helped or allowed by the bus driver to lodge a complaint with the police. The bus driver also said that my brother had no proof that he had kept any suitcase in the bus. The bus driver told him that he would deny before the police that he had seen any suitcase brought by my brother for keeping in the bus. Instead of waiting for my brother to lodge a complaint with the police, the driver just drove away the bus in a great hurry. 
 
Veiled Threat of being Framed for Smuggling!
 
    Before driving away his vehicle, the bus driver had also warned my brother that if he lodged any complaint with the police, he would face constant trouble from the police who would visit him regularly. It seemed like a veiled threat, as my brother could even be accused by the bus driver of carrying some banned items worth lakhs of rupees in the suitcase. My brother felt that he could have been harassed by the police at the instance of the bus driver. If the missing suitcase had been found by any chance, who knows what items could have been planted in my brother's suitcase, at the instance of the bus driver, and my brother could have been accused of being a smuggler or a terrorist? 
 
    In the last 45 years, my brother has travelled to a number of countries, but he has never had such an experience before.
 
    Even though my brother looks like a saadhu or saintly person with his grey hair and a full beard on his face, he was made to feel like a criminal by the bus driver. Due to the bus driver's remarks, he might have easily been suspected of being a criminal or smuggler, as a saadhu with a full beard and mustache can look like a Muslim too. There are many innocent Muslims who have been arrested by the police on cooked up false charges.
 
    My brother thought of avoiding the possibility of any serious problems that might arise, as he did not wish to be held up in India indefinitely and not be allowed to return to Spain. He felt that he should not get into serious trouble by trying to get back his suitcase, as the total value of the items in the suitcase amounted to about Rs.15,000 to Rs.20,000, except for the incalculable value of the only picture he had of our maternal grandfather. 
 
    My brother who often takes medicines for depression had got totally confused and did not know what to do to get back his suitcase.
 
    So my brother did not lodge any complaint with the police. He just went to another brother's home who is presently also staying in Pune. My brother was left with no other clothes except the ones he was wearing. He had to borrow some clothes from his brother till he could buy some new clothes.
 
    It seems clear that some bus employee had stolen the suitcase and got down somewhere before the bus reached Pune. Because the suitcase was an imported one with labels of international airlines, it might have been presumed by the crooks operating the bus of Balaji Travels that it must be carrying costly items worth lakhs of rupees.
 
Victims who Feel like Criminals in India!
 
    What a paradox! The victims of crimes are made to feel like criminals in India. I still don't understand how my brother was made so scared that he felt he might be framed in some bogus case if he had lodged a complaint with the police against the bus staff, which had stolen his suitcase.
 
    The Sindhis cannot feel safe in India, especially in states like Maharashtra. Probably, it would be better for the Sindhis of Maharashtra to migrate to some states like Gujarat and Rajasthan, where the Sindhis feel more safe.
 
    I wish to advise the people who travel between Mumbai and Pune to take precautions for preventing their suitcases from getting stolen by the staff of private tourist buses like MH16Q 8118 belonging to companies like Balaji Travels. 
 
   Ashok  T. Jaisinghani. 
 
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Note: All persons whose relatives and friends travel by buses between Mumbai and Pune should be informed about the above-mentioned incidence. You are requested to forward this email to your relatives and friends so that they can take precautions to prevent their suitcases getting stolen by the staff of buses running between Mumbai and Pune.