A 12-year-old boy who had fled his home in Bangladesh and landed in Sealdah found himself homeless again when the grocery shop he worked at closed down because of the lockdown and he had nothing to eat.
The boy walked to a village in Bhangar, 30km away, where he saw a woman resembling his mother and broke down.
Hashem Ali Baidya, a grocer, found the boy crying in front of a sweet shop at Chandipur market on April 19.
Baidya, a father of two, took the child home, fed him, gave him clothes and managed to get him connected to his family in Bangladesh through friends and a child welfare organisation there.
“He was crying because he thought he had seen his mother. The woman realised the child was mistaking her for his mother and left him at a sweet shop. I brought him home,” said Baidya, who runs a grocery shop. “He started calling me Abba and my wife Ammu. Both my children are younger than him. He is like my eldest son.”
The boy is now at a home in South 24-Parganas where he will stay till the lockdown is over. Police have contacted the Bangladesh high commission to arrange for his return home after the lockdown.
Baruipur SP Rashid Munir Khan said the boy is in the custody of the child welfare committee and will be sent to Bangladesh after the lockdown.
“He (Baidya) had dialled 1098 and got in touch with us. We immediately went to his home to check on the child and alerted the child welfare committee,” said Sheikh Saddam, a member of Childline, a government helpline for issues related to children.
With information about the boy’s home and address, Baidya got in touch with friends in Jessore and Kushtia, who managed to locate the child’s home in the Akbarsaha police station area of Chittagong district.
The boy got to see his family after eight months in a video call made from Bhangar police station.
The child told Baidya that he had fled home after his parents scolded him. “He is the second of three siblings at home and the only son in the family. His father is a truck driver who often travels till the Bengal border,” Baidya said. “I am happy he will be able to reunite with his family. But we are finding it very painful to let him go now.”
Source: The Telegraph