Couple takes blast cover to abandon girl

Eighteen-month-old baby found lying at Shitla Ghat in Varanasi

The baby was found lying on the stairs at the Shitla Ghat on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi after the blast and was rescued by a local boy, who took her to the office of the nearby Ganga Seva Samiti.

The parents of the girl were missing and it appeared then that they might either have been killed in the blast or suffered serious injuries and admitted to hospital.

The girl was sent to Child Line, a local voluntary organisation looking after missing and abandoned children. However even after two days, no one came forward to claim her. Attempt to trace her parents in the list of the injured proved futile.

On Sunday, however, a couple from Jawahar Nagar locality in Varanasi identified the girl from her pictures, which appeared in the media.

The couple, Gorakh Nath and Parvati, said the girl’s parents were their tenants. “The name of the girl is Gauri and her parents lived in our house as tenants but we have not seen them since Tuesday,” they said. Parvati said she had spoken to the girl’s father Neelesh over the telephone but was told that Gauri was dead. The cell phone was switched off thereafter, she added.

Daughters’ death

The landlady said Neelesh had four daughters but two had  died of some illness. “He was not very affectionate towards his two surviving daughters,” Parvati said. “They may have been wanting to abandon the girl and may have deliberately left her on the ghat,” she said.

The caretaker of Child Line, Sister Lancy, also spoke on similar lines. “Had the parents wanted to take back their child, they would definitely have come forward after seeing her pictures on TV and newspapers,” she said.

“It seems that they abandoned the child, as she is a girl...they left the city on the day of the blast,” she said.

Police officials said they would launch an investigation into the matter and take action against the parents if it was found that they had deliberately abandoned her.

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