Pratapgarh, July 26: Most of the times, lack of knowledge can lead to situations we can not even imagine of. Sometimes for us and the other times, for others.
Five young siblings in Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh, who were orphaned as their parents died of AIDS and they were thrown out of their village, have been forced to camp at their parents' graves. They were hounded out of their own village over irrational fears of "contamination", and hence now, their parents' grave is the only place they can now call home.
The youngest child, barely seven-years-old, can hardly understand why they had to leave the safety of their home.
"My father died of AIDS. Two years later, my mother died of AIDS too. I used to live with my relatives in the village, but they got scared that they would also get AIDS so they threw us out," says the oldest boy, 17.
After being thrown out by the relatives, the children started living in the graveyard, having nowhere to go, drawing comfort from the graves of their parents. A tattered tarpaulin was all that they had for shelter and two broken cots to sleep, have been their "home" for nearly two months, since their mother died. They eat only when someone took pity on these innocent souls and gave them something left over to eat.
Villagers soon hounded them again, saying they would "contaminate" the graves of their relatives. The children then set up camp on their parents' graves, perhaps thinking, that was the only place they wouldn't be judged.
Relatives say they will take the children back only if an HIV test gives them a clean bill of health.
After NDTV reported their tragic story, the government took notice of their state and has now allotted them a home under a government scheme, the Indira Awas Yojana. The state administration has also ordered BPL (Below Poverty Line) cards for the children so they can get food and other benefits.
A state health team is now planning to conduct an HIV test on the children.
But the point is, how far will the country go and how much will people have to suffer because of the lack of knowledge in people about things like HIV and AIDS?