Four siblings left to fend for themselves as mother dies due to COVID-19

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Ballia (UP), May 24 (PTI) 'We are now at God's mercy', said 10-year-old Kajal, saddled with the responsibility of taking care of her three younger siblings after their mother died due to coronavirus two weeks ago.

Their father Santosh Paswan had died of cancer about three years ago, following which their mother Poonam Devi had been looking after them.

Poonam Devi died on May 10, leaving behind her children Kajal, Ruby, Renu and Ankush, aged five to 10.

Their both parents worked as labourers and had no agricultural land.

'My mother has died from coronavirus. We are three sisters and one brother. We had some foodgrain in the house but nothing is left now. We are now 'bhagwan bharose' (at God's mercy),' Kajal told reporters at Dalanchhapra village in Ballia's Bairia tehsil.

Villagers said they have two elder sisters, who are married and not in a position to take care of them.

'We have nothing with us now,' said Ruby.

However, seven-year-old Ankush wants to study and join the police force when he grows up.

'Didi cooks for us. I want to study and join the police force,' said Ankush, who performed the last rites of his mother.

In his innocence, Ankush said he will marry with the help of donations.

Meanwhile, the Information Department, in a statement issued here on Monday evening, said the children are being looked after by their grandmother Phuleshwari Devi.

As per the directives of CDO Praveen Verma, a team of the women welfare department met Phuleshwari Devi. She told the team she gets a monthly pension and that she is ready to send the children to a shelter home.

Earlier in the day, Bairia SDM Prashant Nayak had said that he was aware of their mother's death and if any other member of their family takes their responsibility, monetary help would be provided for it till they assume the age of 18.

Nayak said a certificate for the BPL category is being made so that the family gets the benefit of Antyodaya Yojana of the government and sponsorship scheme of the women welfare department. PTI CORR SAB NAV SNE