- Charity raises Rs 57 lakh for family of man who died while cleaning sewer
- Crowdfunding campaign motivated by photo of boy next to his body
- He wasn't boy's biological father, in relationship with mother: Campaign
A fundraiser that helped collect nearly Rs 60 lakh for the family of a sanitation worker who died while cleaning a sewer in Delhi has triggered a controversy. Donations had poured in for the online crowdfunding campaign after a photo of a grieving boy with the body of the 37-year-old man named Anil went viral on social media, raising more than Rs 57 lakh.
However, on Friday, the organisers of the campaign said they had learnt Anil was not the biological father of the boy. "Local residents have confirmed that [the boy's mother] Rani was in a live-in relationship with Anil, he took care of the woman and her children for the last three years. Rani and her children were financially and emotionally dependent on Anil," Delhi-based NGO Uday Foundation and crowdfunding website Ketto said in a statement.
But the campaign noted that since the Supreme Court, in a recent judgment, had said that an adult couple has a right to live together without marriage, the revelation did not change the goal.
"The new findings do not lessen the grief of the boy or the family. This entire campaign was run considering the plight of the family, to ensure they receive a good education and take care of their well-being," they said.
The amount donated by more than 3,000 donors will be deposited in the account of the boy and his siblings, in the form of fixed deposits, which they will only receive once they turn 18, the organisers have decided.
"Until then, the family will have access to the monthly interest from the fixed deposit, to take care of expenses," they added.
Anil died last week after he slipped when descending into the 20-feet deep sewer as the rope tied around his waist snapped and he went into a free fall.
However, in media reports on Friday, Anil's sister Geeta said Anil never married and the boy's mother Rani, who had claimed that she was his wife, and had two other children besides the boy seen in the photograph.
"The woman who claims to be his wife is actually our mausi (maternal aunt). Her husband lives in Mumbai and Anil had been living with her for close to three years. He was never married but used to treat her kids as his own children," Geeta told news agency PTI.
(With inputs from PTI)
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