September 21, 2020

Delhi riots: Toddler separated in violence reunited with family

Three-year-old Safiya with her parents Javir and Zulekha

A three-year-old Indian girl who went missing during last week’s riots in the capital, Delhi, has been reunited with her parents.

BBC Hindi earlier reported that a Muslim family who were fleeing the riots had found her near a mosque.

Her family came forward to claim her after volunteers scoured the area.

Riots broke out in north-east Delhi after clashes between protesters for and against a controversial citizenship law turned violent.

The riots were centred around Muslim-majority neighbourhoods, including Maujpur, Mustafabad, Jaffrabad and Shiv Vihar.

Mohammad Saood Alam and his wife were fleeing Shiv Vihar when they spotted the toddler.

“During the stone pelting and violence, we found this child near the Medina mosque. She had a head injury and she was crying,” Mr Alam told BBC Hindi.

He said he took her along when his family sought refuge in a shelter home in another locality.

Mohammad Saood and his wife Nora

After the child’s story was covered by the press, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) formed a team which went door-to-door in and around the area; they even made announcements from the mosque where the toddler was found.

On Wednesday, the child’s grandfather, Mohammad Haroon, approached the police after he was informed by a volunteer that his grandchild had been located.

He said the toddler was named Safiya and that she was living with him because her parents Javir and Zulekha, who are daily wage workers, were working on a drainage project in another part of the city.

Mohammad Haroon said he got separated from the child on 24 February while trying to escape the riots.

The police handed over the toddler to her parents after they produced her immunisation records to prove that she was their child.

“Safiya latched on tightly to her mother, resting her head on her chest,” news website Scroll, which witnessed the reunion, reported.

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