On Wednesday morning, a couple watched as their eight-year-old niece was being readied to be shifted to Varanasi, a temporary stay away from their “harrowing” ordeal at the Deoria illegal shelter home.
They couldn’t take her with them today as there were formalities involved now. The police had begun taking the girls’ statements.
“Hum uske mama-mami lagte hai. Iski maa ko asylum mein bheja aur kuch din bitiya ko apne pass rakha par itni kam amdani mein usko thik se paal nahi pas rahe they (We are her uncle and aunt. We had sent her ill mother to mental asylum and kept her with us but it became difficult to take care of her),” said the uncle of the girl who explained that his sister had taken ill since the death of her husband last year. With five children of their own, the couple hoped that lodging their niece just 12 kms away at the shelter home would give her a better life.
The man said they had lodged her there just a few months ago. They had heard that the shelter fed as well as educated girls. “We wanted what was good for her… We didn’t expect this… As soon as we read about the matter in the newspaper today, we rushed here at once,” he said.
An official has asked them to file an application in the court to take back custody. The man said he will do that on Thursday itself.
Soon, a man in his early 60s joined them. His 15-year-old was among the girls rescued from the shelter home, he said. “She had gone missing on July 19. On July 25, I was told that she was here but I couldn’t take her then as there were formalities. Then, two days ago, I heard about the shelter home case in the news and rushed back again,” he said.