AGRA: The violence at Jawahar Bagh in Mathura on Thursday has left 23 children permanently scarred with horrific memories of gunshots, screams and corpses.
As the bullets flew, some of the children hid behind trees while some ran around aimlessly in the dark to save themselves.
The children were traced later by the district administration as they moved without family after the mayhem and shifted to the government children’s home in Firozabad.
According to officials, guardians of five children have turned up but they have been asked to provide conclusive evidence to get their kids back.
“They were brought here in the late hours of Friday night from Jawahar Bagh. Some of the children claim that their parents are in jail while others are not sure if their parents are alive or dead,” said Vishwa Vimohan Kulshreshtha, chairman of the child welfare committee (CWC) that is looking after the children in Firozabad.
The children in the age group of 12 to 16 years were living inside the park with their parents before the violence broke out.
Some of them were aggressive and even raised slogans of “Netaji Zindabad” when they were brought to the children’s home but they were gradually pacified, officials said.
The children used to call Rambriksh Yadav, the alleged mastermind of the incident, ‘bade pitaji’ (elder father), Netaji or Babuji.
They studied in a school set up and run by the illegal occupants of Jawahar Bagh. Some of them had come to Jawahar Bagh recently. The children told officials that their parents used to carry out different tasks in the park under the leadership of ‘bade pitaji’.
One of the children from Hardoi district said his father was called to Jawahar Bagh for a job and land. His mother also came to the park but they were not allowed to return when they wished.
Another child, a Class 1 student from Lakhimpur Kheri, said he saved himself during the violence by hiding behind a tree. “My father used to work as a security guard. He was called to Jawahar Bagh for a job but not allowed to return,” he said.
Kulshreshtha said the Firozabad district administration had increased the security of the rescued children.