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Circulating Request - Help Pooja Find Her Parents

Outline
Widely circulated message asks recipients to help find the parents of 4 year old Pooja, who was rescued from a kidnapper by police but cannot clearly communicate her identity.



Brief Analysis
The case described is real, but took place back in 2006. Police rescued her from her kidnapper at a railway station at Thiruvananthapuram, in the Indian state of Kerala. Although Pooja's parents have never been located, the child was later taken in by a couple in Thiruvananthapuram.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 20th July 2010
First published: 20th July 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: Please circulate this....POOJA

PLEASE CIRCULATE

Dear Friends,

The below 4yrs baby name POOJA was kidnapped by a person at some place and now she is under Kerala Police custody. Since the baby could not communicate her identification clearly, Police is struggling to find her parents. The following information was given by the baby which may or may not be correct also. Requesting all to forward her photograph to the maximum people in India to identify her parents / relatives.

Hope this will cost only your time and will help one life.

POOJA

Pooja

Information given by the baby:

Father's Name: Mr. Rajkiran
Mother's Name: Mrs. Munny Devi
Language: HINDI
Place: Nagaluppi (this was pronounced by the baby which Police could not find such a place. The place must be related to the mentioned name).
She is having one younger Brother & Elder Sister.

Pls do not ignore this mail.

Kindly forward.
It will cost you nothing more than few minutes......
A life is at stake




Detailed Analysis
Pooja
Police rescued four year old Pooja from a beggar at the Thiruvananthapuram railway station in April 2006
This widely circulated message details the case of four year old Indian girl, Pooja (sometimes "Puja") who was rescued by Kerala police from a kidnapper. According to the message, little Pooja was too young to give clear indications about her identity or the whereabouts of her family. The message asks that recipients forward the message on to as many people as possible in the hope that someone will be able to identify Poona's parents or other relatives.

The message describes a real case. However, the case is not recent and the information in the message is now outdated. Pooja's rescue occurred several years ago in April 2006, and her circumstances have now changed considerably. Sadly, Pooja's parents have apparently never been located. After her rescue, Pooja spent some time in an orphanage. Due to considerable web and media exposure, the orphanage was inundated with offers to adopt the child along with several - subsequently discredited - claims from people purporting to be her parents.

An extensive, nationwide search for Pooja's family yielded no positive results. However, in late 2006, authorities decided to allow the child to be placed in foster care with a view to permanent legal adoption after six months. A December 24, 2006 Indian Express article noted:
As claims and offers for her kept pouring in, the CJM’s court decided that the little girl required stable parental care. There was, however, a catch _ her real parents may be somewhere in north India, looking for their kidnapped daughter.

So the court handed Puja to a middle-aged childless couple _ a senior civil servant and his wife in Thiruvananthapuram. They were allowed to have Puja in their “temporary foster care’’ for six months, and then secure a permanent legal adoption; if her real parents didn’t turn up to claim her by then. That was in October, and her ‘amma’ and ‘achan’ now need to be on tenterhooks for at least three more months.

Through all this, Puja now speaks Malayalam, has forgotten much of her Hindi, goes to LKG class with her little friends, and rarely tries to remember what she had been through. Most likely, the search for her parents will cease once her adoption is formalized, and Puja will be a Keralite.
It is believed that Pooja was taken from somewhere in the northern region of India and brought to Kerala to help a beggar conduct his business. Police rescued the child from a male beggar at the Thiruvananthapuram railway station in April 2006. Although the beggar was also taken in by police and questioned at length he did not reveal where he got the little girl or the whereabouts of her family. The man was deaf and dumb.

After her rescue, a website about Poona was created that provided information about the case and more photographs of the child. It was hoped that the information on the website would be seen by Pooja's parents or someone who knew them. However, this was not to be. The website is no longer online.

Credible information about Pooja's current status and living arrangements is scanty. A few more recent references suggest that the girl was indeed permanently adopted by the couple in Thiruvananthapuram. However, I am yet to verify this information. If you have any more up-to-date details about Pooja, please let me know.

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References
Save yourself n Save Others
"On the Web, hunt for parents; on the ground, a home", Rajeev PI, Sunday Dec 24 2006, The Indian Express

Last updated: 20th July 2010
First published: 20th July 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer