Stranded on border, boy sheltered by Rajasthan village

He was found stranded near the Pakistan border two months ago. This 12-year-old boy can barely speak, and hopes of finding his home and family are receding.

The boy suffers from a speech disorder. There are only a few words he can utter, and he has been mostly crying since June 18, when residents of a village on the India-Pakistan International border in Sri Ganganagar district spotted him and handed him over to the Border Security Force (BSF).

Villagers feared he might be taken for a Pakistan intruder in the darkness in this desert area and killed. The boy is currently lodged in a shelter home run by a non-government organisation.

Keshrisinghpur police station Inspector Narayan Dan Charan told IANS that all efforts to trace the boy's family have gone in vain.

"A name, 'Angad', was found tattooed on his hand when he was spotted June 18 by residents of the village near the international border near Padampur. He was crying and wandering around," the officer said. The village is about 600 km from state capital Jaipur.
"The area is quite sensitive with 24/7 vigil by the BSF personnel to prevent infiltration from Pakistan," the inspector added.

"As villagers thought that the boy might be shot dead in confusion if he is considered a Pakistani intruder, they informed BSF officials and handed him over to them," said the officer.

The officer said that the BSF failed to ascertain the identity of the boy.
"They then gave his custody to the police. We also tried to trace his family, but as the child is almost dumb, he is unable to tell us anything. He was scared and febrile. He was hospitalised," said Charan.

Bhajan Singh, a representative of an NGO called 'Harprabh Asara' situated in a village near Padampur in Sri Ganganagar district that has given the child shelter over the past two months, said: "We are trying to make him feel comfortable. However, he is sometimes restless. He only utters two words, 'Baba' and 'Mama'."

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