On January 13, a 26-year-old intellectually disabled man– Praveen Kumar– was separated from his mother Vijayalakshmi while they were boarding a bus to his workplace near TTK Road at 7 AM in the morning.
While Praveen had a steady job at Savera Hotels, he still needed his mother’s help to get to work. As soon as his mother realised that he was missing, she rushed to the Teynampet police station to file a missing person complaint. However, her complaint wasn’t formally registered until late evening.
She even called his alma mater Vidyasagar, a school for special children in Kotturpuram, and the hotel where Praveen worked, for help.
Next morning, Praveen was mowed down by a vehicle at around 2:45 AM near Anna Salai where he died on the spot. Following the accident, his unidentified body lay in the morgue for two days even as hundreds of volunteers continued to look for him through every nook and alley in the area.
What went wrong
According to the family, Praveen’s mother went to the police station to file a complaint at around 8 AM. However, it wasn’t until 5 PM in the evening that the cops registered an FIR, The News Minute reported. Furthermore, no information was passed on to other police teams in the city regarding a missing person, alleges the family.
Meanwhile, nearly 200 volunteers from Vidyasagar took to the streets to find Praveen. They even posted photos on social media and posters in the streets with the phone number from the school.
According to another report, while the initial FIR was uploaded to the Tamil Nadu Police’s Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS) four days after his death, his photo was never uploaded to the CCTNS.
Ironically, it was the posters that Vidyasagar had put out across the city that alerted the police about Praveen. On January 16, Vidyasagar received a call from Chintadripet police station stating that an unidentified body in the morgue could be a match to the photo of the missing man that they had received on WhatsApp.
However, as Praveen’s face was battered due to the accident, the police said that it could be identified only by his parents. His body lay for another day in the morgue until his father, who had gone to visit the Sabarimala temple, returned.
The family and the volunteers claim that reluctance on part of the police in registering the report and lack of communication among the police force is what led to this accident.
What police is saying
However, the police have a different version to share. The police said that they registered the complaint the same day. But it couldn’t be uploaded to the CCTNS as the server was down. Furthermore, they said that they shared Praveen’s information with the local police station over a common WhatsApp group.