The Police said, "When we questioned the girls, they broke down and confessed that they were travelling to Mumbai to try their luck in acting as they were enchanted by characters of various web series that they had been watching on YouTube."
The charm of content-driven entertainment on Over the Top (OTT) platforms pushed two minor girls from Vadodara — aged 14 and 15 — to run away from home to Mumbai with hopes of trying their hand at acting. However, as apprehension and reality struck them midway, they staged a kidnapping to return home for the fear of being rebuked by the family.
Manjalpur police station saw a curious case of alleged ‘kidnapping’ on Tuesday with a twist. The two minor girls — first cousins — had fled from home early on Tuesday morning, riding their two-wheeler until a school in the vicinity, which, incidentally, is just a few meters away from the police station. The girls parked their vehicle at the school and took a rickshaw to the bus depot to board a Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) bus to Mumbai, with dreams of bagging a role in fictional web series, which are the popular modes of entertainment in current times.
However, when the bus halted at Vapi, the younger of the two had an anxiety attack and decided to back out of the plan, police said. While her older cousin tried to convince her for a while, slowly, both girls wanted to return home. “Fearing that the family would chastise them, they decided to spin a story of a kidnap. They called up one of the family members and said that they had been kidnapped and they didn’t know where they were. At that time, the family was at the police station and we were in the process of registering the FIR. So when the call came, we appropriately added the information into the FIR and began our probe,” says Police Inspector BG Chetariya of Manjalpur police station.
With technical assistance, the police tracked the mobile phone location of the girls to Vapi and dispatched a team to fetch them. However, the girls made another call to the family saying that they had been ‘taken’ to Bharuch district. The police, accompanied by the family members, found the girls in Jhagadia taluka of Bharuch and brought them home.
“We had an inkling that the story of kidnapping was fake. The family also felt so but we could not take a chance until we had them back safe so we considered it as a real kidnapping case. Finally, when we questioned the girls, they broke down and confessed that they were travelling to Mumbai to try their luck in acting as they were enchanted by characters of various web series that they had been watching on YouTube,” Chetariya said.
While the girls were reunited with the family, the police is now preparing a report to be submitted in court. “We will place the facts of the case before the court and the court will close the case,” said Chetariya.
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