Darjeeling, Feb. 26: From China to Canada, Delhi to Darjeeling, a motley group of people networked across continents to unite a 22-year-old woman with her family almost three weeks after she lost her way from a Dooars tea garden.
Chunnu Tamang went missing from Tulsipara tea garden near Birpara on February 7.
She was tracked, identified and united with her family at Salua in East Midnapore yesterday by several Facebook and WhatsApp users whom she hasn't met and will perhaps never see.
Chunnu had been staying in the tea garden with her mother Bela and three sisters. She lost her father few years ago.
Earlier this month, she lost her way while roaming in the plantation.
Her family lodged a police complaint and while they looked for her in the Dooars, Vivek Lepcha, 23, a graduate from St Xavier's College, Calcutta, got a call from a friend in Siliguri.
"He shared some photographs of a girl with me and said she was seen at the NJP station and added that she must have lost her way. He told me she had been seen in the area for three days. Since my friend is in a government service, he did not want to come out in public. I decided to post the photos on a Facebook page called The Darjeeling Chronicle," Lepcha said.
The Darjeeling Chronicle page lists news and events and it has multiple administrators not only from Darjeeling, Calcutta, Mumbai and others cities of India but also from Canada, the Netherlands and the United States. The page has more than 48,000 followers.
Rinchu Doma Dukpa, one of the administrators, said: "We received the message on February 10 and as soon as we put it up, it was shared 2,400 times. It seems that Rajen Chhetri from Delhi informed Rangu Souriya of Kanchenjungha Uddhar Kendra (an NGO) based in Siliguri, about the message."
Souriya rushed to NJP but by then, Chunnu had left the area.
"She went missing again and all of us were very worried," Dukpa said. "We got information about the girl from Bikash Lama, Ugen T. Bhutia, Simran Sharma (in Calcutta) and Sanjeev Rai."
|Facebook helps find 22-year-old Chunnu Tamang missing from Dooars|
By this time, other pages on Facebook, like Dooars Express and Hamro Darjeeling, had also shared the posts.
Sanjeev, 30, a travel guide from Alubari in Darjeeling, managed to get in touch with Chunnu's eldest sister, Binu, who works in Chennai.
"I saw a post on FB pages Hamro Darjeeling and Darjeeling Chronicle. I also saw another post stating that someone had gone missing and a contact number had been given," Sanjeev said.
When Sanjeev called that number, he found it was Binu's
On February 21, the DC team received a message from Anmol Mukhia, a international relations PhD scholar from Jilin University, China.
"Anmol had shared the girl's photographs posted by Bishal Tamang from Salua in East Midnapore," said Dukpa.
Anmol in a WhatsApp message from China said: "I had seen a post about a missing person. Once I got the pictures shared by Bishal Tamang, I send those to DC."
Bishal said they got a call from police "saying a girl who spoke Nepali was found walking aimlessly on a highway. They asked if we could help. We tried speaking to her but she could not give proper answers. Sometimes she said she was from Delhi and then she named other places. She was admitted to the sadar hospital here," said Bishal.
Bishal then posted the woman's pictures on the Hamro Darjeeling page. Eventually Amnol came across the posts. "I contacted DC," said Anmol.
The DC got in touch with Sanjeev Rai, who had helped identify Chunnu. "I contacted Binu in Chennai, who confirmed that it was her sister," said Sanjeev.
Binu said: "I heard from my friend that pictures of my sister, who had gone missing from the garden, were being circulated on Facebook. My friend shared the pictures and mentioned my phone number along with that. Later, I was contacted by some people who informed me about my sister. I am relieved that she has been found in Salua (around 800km) from the estate. My mother and relatives reached Salua yesterday. They are on their way home today."
Note Kudos to The Darjeeling Chronicle team, keep up the good work..