Bihar DGP Abhayanand told reporters that Prashant Jha (17) and Preeti Chaudhary, with whom he had eloped from Madhubani on September 7, were found in Mehrauli in south Delhi. They were spotted at a tea stall by a man who happened to recognise them from photographs that had been circulated in public in order to trace them. The teens were then taken to Mehrauli police station for questioning.
Police said the couple left Madhubani on September 7 afternoon and travelled to Ranchi, Jammu and Darjeeling. “They arrived in Delhi by the Brahmaputra Mail shortly after 6 am today. They were spotted at a tea stall in Mehrauli and were detained,” a police officer said.
They told the police that their parents did not approve of their relationship since they were from different castes. So they decided to elope.
On October 4, a decapitated body, believed to be of a teenage boy, was found in Madhubani, sparking violence. Prashant’s family claimed the body was of their son, that he had been killed by those opposed to the relationship.
The body was handed over to the family on Saturday after public protests over three days saw at least three die in police firing. Police stations and block offices were also torched by mobs.
The Opposition RJD, LJP and Left parties enforced a Bihar bandh today, protesting the government’s “inept” handling of the Madhubani incident. The bandh was declared “successful” in Patna, Madhubani and Darbhanga.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad and LJP president Ramvilas Paswan hit the streets, criticising the law and order situation. Protesters disrupted rail traffic, delaying over a dozen trains. Over a dozen people sustained minor injuries in Muzaffarpur, Ara and Bhagalpur.
Later in the day, on being told that the boy had been traced to Delhi, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said: “All’s well that ends well.”
DGP Abhayanand said: “We may ask the boy’s family at some stage how they identified a decapitated body as that of his.”
Prashant’s mother Vanita Devi, who had gone to Gaya to perform the last rites of her son, said: “We are so happy to learn that Prashant is alive. I deeply regret that two people died in police firing while protesting for my son’s cause.”
Asked why she identified the body as that of her son, Vanita said: “The vest and underwear on the body had the same colour as the one Prashant wore. We were under great stress and got it wrong.”