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Lost in the earthquake at 12, found at 17, dead a year later

Boy from Anjar was presumed dead in 2001 Gujarat quake until he was rescued one day. He died of TB in Bhuj two weeks ago

Written by Hiraldave | Anjar: |
August 18, 2007 1:29:43 am

Every one thought he was dead. The 2001 Gujarat earthquake had brought the roof down on his classroom. But his mother waited for him for five years. Then one day in April last year, Amit joined Jayaben at Mistry Camp-II in Anjar.

For mother Jayaben Jethva it was a miracle that strengthened her faith in God. Amit was mentally challenged and the tremor had killed 400 of his schoolmates and teachers.

The miracle didn’t last.

Just when he was about to turn 18, Amit died of TB at a hospital in Bhuj on July 30. And this time, the shock of losing her son is too much to bear for Jayaben, a sanitation worker with Anjar municipal corporation.

“Hope to see him again kept me alive. But this time I have no hope to get my son back,” says Jayaben, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Amit died after a failed three-month treatment. And in the last 15 days, life’s meaning has changed in many ways for Jayaben, who now lives alone. Her other four children, all daughters, are married and live away. “My faith was strengthened when Amit returned,” she says. “But I fail to understand what God wants from me.”

Amit had reportedly reached Garbara in Godhra after the January 26 earthquake. According to reports, he was found in Amba village in Madhya Pradesh in the custody of a tribal man, who was using him as a bonded labourer. A labourer from MP, who met Jayaben in an Anjar hospital, told her that she had seen a boy with features similar to Amit’s in Garbara.

A police investigation revealed that Amit was abducted from Garbara by some tribals. The police got clues about his whereabouts in Amba village from locals. A groups of 15 members, including relatives, then went to Amba on April 11 last year and, after a minor scuffle with his employers, found Amit hidden in a grass field.

The year the mother spent with her found-again son was mixed with sad and happy moments. Amit was 12 when he disappeared. And 17 when found. Apart from appearance, many things about him had changed. Branded, tortured and abused, Amit had completely lost his memory. He never got his memory back.

The only things he kept on repeating were “there was a school…there was an earthquake”.

Now, Amit too has become a was.

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