Five siblings in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh, were forced out of their house and camp near their parents’ grave after their parents passed away due to the deadly disease.
The five siblings, driven out of their house, after their parents passed away, by villagers fearing infection, today had undergone an HIV test. After the siblings were tested to be HIV negative a state health team took them into their care.
Forced to spend 2 months near their parents’ grave, having nowhere else to go, fearing that they might also be carrying the infection, was it right in the parts of villagers to act this way? Was this kind of isolation and boycott deserved?
The five siblings all aged between seven and 21 years, were also abandoned by relatives after their mother died of AIDS, over 2 months ago. Having nowhere else to go, they turned towards their parents’ grave and began living together in a graveyard under a tattered tarpaulin and two broken cots. This was all they had in the name of a home.
“My father died of AIDS followed by my mother who died of AIDS two years later. I used to live with my relatives in the village, but soon they got scared that they would also get AIDS and so they threw us out,” says the oldest boy.
But soon after the villagers started objecting again, saying that the children would “contaminate” the graves of their ancestors. The children then had no other option than to set up a small camp in the name of “home” on their parents’ graves, perhaps thinking that was the only place where they won’t be judged.
After the media reported about this horrifying incident and heart-breaking story of these children’s’ isolation, Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav, stepped in and promised the children a home.
Although these children are out of the graveyard for now, they still have to live in a makeshift shelter in a piece of land allotted to them by the government. Mr. Yadav told media that he asked for bank accounts for each child and will also deposit 1 lac rupees each in every single bank account of theirs. “I have also asked the administration to immediately shift these children to the government guest house”, he said.
The government has now allotted the siblings a home under a government scheme and they will also be given BPL (Below Poverty Line) cards for the children so they can get food and other benefits without any obstruction.