Hounded by social media; Blind couple shaves daughter’s head

Tanaji Khot
Friday, 14 July 2017

Pics of the couple, who beg for a living, were circulated questioning if the daughter was their own. 

Pimpri: Here's a classic example of how easily social media turns from good to ugly - all because people post something without getting full information or checking the facts. 

Photos of a blind couple from Pimpri-Chinchwad were recently widely circulated on whatsapp and other social media platforms, which shows them begging with a small girl. 

The post accompanying the photo read, "These beggers say she is their daughter, but that is hard to believe. Circulate this photo to help find the daughter's real parents."

A quick check done by Sakal Times has revealed that the little girl is indeed this couple's daughter. However, what was meant as an ill-informed post with good intention, has turned out to be a nightmare for the couple - Shital and Dharma Lokhande - who had to take the drastic step of shaving their daughter's head to avoid being recognised. 

Who's the couple? 
Dharma Lokhande and Shital Lokhande stay in Laltopinagar slum in Pimpri-Chinchwad since last five years. They moved there after getting married through a social organisation working for the visually imparied. Both were visually impaired since birth. 

According to Dinkar Gaikwad of Andh Apang Vikas Santha, an organisation working for differently-abled in Pimpri-Chinchwad, Sheetal Pandit (now Lokhande) originally hails from Beed and married Dhama in 2013. They were blessed with baby girl on June 9, 2014. 

At the moment, they are fighting all odds in bringing up their daughter. 

Unnecessary questioning 
Now that the post has become viral, enthusiastic people have made life of Lokhandes miserable since last few days. It has landed them in unnecessary scrutiny of strangers and the police. 

There are people who refuse to believe that the child is their own. 
In past too, the couple have landed in police station as some people raised question on their claim and called the police in Pune.

Difficult to venture out
The Whatsapp post has created trouble for the couple once again. Some people approached Dharma and asked them to accompany them to the police station. 

The couple normally roams on Ajmera Colony road, but ever since the message went viral, it became difficult for them to go out since people started recognising them. And so, to save their daughter from being recognised and subjected to needless scrutiny, they shaved her head. 

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