Twitter reunites abandoned Indian children with mother
THESE children have been reunited with their mother after being abandoned by their father at India's busiest railway station.
Twitter came to the rescue of the three siblings after concerned passengers sent out appeals to find their parents and get them to safety on Tuesday.
It took police half an hour of searching the huge New Delhi railway station to find them after hundreds of people joined the social media effort but eventually got Rumana, seven, Raja, five, and four-year-old Sanya home.
The hunt started when Abhishek Shukla, a journalist with the Press Trust of India, sent out a picture of the trio huddled together on the floor."Can someone help these helpless kids at New Delhi Railway Station near platform 16 entrance," he wrote, adding that he had already called the police and Childline India.
The tweet was shared more than 200 times as people joined the search and contacted police and railway officials through Twitter.
Mr Shukla had spotted the children beneath a ticket office window but when police got to the spot they had disappeared.
When they were eventually found on platform one, they were "sobbing uncontrollably" and too scared and confused to tell officers how they got to the station, NDTV reported.
After taking them to safety and giving them food, police learned that the children's father had taken them from their mother's home earlier in the evening and left them on the platform, allegedly telling them: "Stay here till your mother finds you."
The siblings guided officers to their home in the Nabi Karim district, where their mother had been asleep.
Sanjay Bhatia, deputy commissioner of India's railway police, told The Indian Express: "The eldest of the three, Rumana, told us that their house was somewhere near Nabi Karim police station.
"Policemen took the children to that area and walked around until they identified their house. They were reunited with their mother."
The woman, identified as 37-year-old Tabussum, said she could not find the children when she came home from work and fell asleep. She claimed she was used to them not being there as her estranged husband allegedly regularly takes them away and drops them back without informing her.
Four of their older children live with him in the city of Kanpur, NDTV reported, but she had fled their home to escape domestic violence.
Madhur Verma, the Deputy Commissioner of Police for Delhi's northern district, said the children were handed back to their mother and were "happy" and safe.
Police took a statement and the investigation into the children's abandonment continues.
Estimates of the number of orphaned and abandoned children in India range up to 12 million, many of whom live on the streets after losing their parents to conflict, poverty, disability or disease.