5 Yrs After Kedarnath Floods, Missing Differently-Abled Minor Girl Reunites With Family
December 27th, 2018 / 2:06 PM
It almost sounds like a film story in which a long-lost person reunites with their loved one. This is exactly what happened in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh where a 17-year-old, mentally challenged and visually impaired girl returned home after being separated from her family in Kedarnath floods, that happened five years ago. However, after her miraculous return, the girl’s old grandparents are struggling to keep her with them, given that they already have 10 members and lack basic facilities like a toilet.
According to the Hindustan Times, Chanchal, then 12-year-old, had gone missing during the 2013 devastating Kedarnath floods, which had killed thousands of people. She had gone to visit the pilgrimage with her parents and her six sisters. In the floods, the girls and her father got separated from the family. On Monday, December 24, five years after the tragic incident the girl reunited with the family. However, her father still remains missing.
How did she reach home?
“Kedarnath mein maiyya ka paani aaya tha, phir main kho gayi,” (Water flooded Kedarnath and then I got lost) said Chanchal, who on May 2, 2015, reached the Rotary Inner Wheel Home for Mentally Retarded Children in Jammu. According to the care centre’s warden, Rajni Sharma, “The Police brought her to the home; we don’t know where she was for two years before that. She was suffering from tuberculosis when she reached us and received treatment here.”
She added, “She (Chanchal) couldn’t study because she can’t see, but she is a very sharp girl. She remembered her grandmother’s address in Aligarh and told the Child Welfare Committee members when they visited a few months ago.” The warden further said that for the last two months efforts were being made to reach out to her family.
After Chanchal’s limited communication, the NGO somehow got in touch with Aligarh MLA Sanjiv Raja, who then took the help of a local NGO-Udaan Society. Meanwhile, Gyanendra Mishra, president of Udaan Society, managed to find the girls family with the help of the local police. The process took almost a month, and on Monday, Chanchal accompanied by Mishra reached the girl’s paternal grandparent’s home. With a blanket, a set of clothes, her medicines, and Rs 1,000, Chanchal met her grandparents Harish Chand and Shakuntala Devi, residents of Bannadevi locality in Alighar. Delighted after meeting their long-lost grand-daughter, the girl’s grandparents said, “This reunion is nothing short of a miracle,” reports The Indian Express.
The family can’t afford to keep her
While speaking to The Indian Express, Chanchal’s 65-year-old grandmother, Devi, said her son Rajesh, his wife Seema along with their daughters, including Chanchal, in 2013 had gone to Kedarnath. After the floods in Kedarnath, she was later informed by the relatives that their son and granddaughter, Chanchal had gone missing. Devi, further said that soon after this incident, Seema, their daughter-in-law never called or visited them. They said, “We don’t know where they (Seema and their six daughters) are.”
Talking about, Chanchal’s return, her uncle Mohan, a cobbler said that they are happy to have their daughter back. However, they are now wondering if she’s better off at a hostel. He said they will not be able to take care of her properly given that they don’t even have a toilet at home. “The women go to a public toilet nearby for Rs 5, but she can’t be sent alone as she wanders off,” he said.
He further said that soon after Chanchal’s return he was called by the District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh, who offered to help them with her medical expenses and studies if they agree to keep her with them. He also gave them options to send her to a hostel, told Chanchal’s uncle. The uncle said that they were thinking of sending her to a hostel as it would be better for the girl as well. Chanchal who is now happy after meeting her grandmother said that she does not know where her parents are. “I am very happy but my grandmother is so old now, it makes me sad,” she said.
While talking about her daily routine in the care centre, she said, “I get ready every morning on my own, I also learnt to count. Sheetal and Rupali ma’am were very nice to me. I like Maggi, and in the last two days, my aunt has made Maggi a few times.”
Written by : Ridhima Gupta
Edited by : Shraddha Goled