Pratapgarh: After the plight of five orphaned children, cast away by villagers and living under tattered plastic sheets next to their parents' graves made headlines on national television, the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh swiftly allotted them land to build a house.
But on Sunday, when the children reached the plot earmarked by the government for them in their village in Pratapgarh district, they were confronted by a man who said he owned the land. The man reportedly told the children that it was disputed property with a case pending in court since 1998.
The government announcement of Rs 5 lakh and land for a new home had come hours after NDTV aired its report last week that the five children, the youngest barely seven, had been abandoned by their relatives and banished by their village for fears of infection as their parents had died of AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome). (Read)
For months after their mother died of AIDS, the children lived in a makeshift tent next to their parents' graves. After their condition was highlighted and the administration made its promises, their grandmother offered to keep the children, but only till their new house was ready. They are at her home for now.
All five children have tested negative for the HIV virus.
An embarrassed district administration has promised an inquiry into how the disputed land was allotted to the children.