Recently, Sunita picked up a wallet that she found lying around near a carnival going on in town. We are not sure of how exactly the events played out but we know that Rajkumar tried to deposit the wallet at the announcements counter in the carnival and instead was picked up by the policemen there on charges of stealing, He was beaten severely and for many hours at the police station and was released only when his maternal uncle (who was thankfully in town that day) pleaded for his release.
In cases such as this, the gaping problems of our existing laws, structures and especially their implementation come to light. We cannot send the siblings to the de-addiction centre in Dehradun because it would be against the law to send a child less than 16 years of age to a de-addiction centre meant for adults. Unless the children spend time at rehab, they cannot be put into an ashram or orphanage because these shelters/orphanages do not have the expertise to deal with addict-children.
A way forward sometimes then is confounding. However, this is also the opportunity to address such gaps in the system at the policy-level and with support from partners and supporters, we are hopeful of finding a positive alternative for Rajkumar and Sunita. Until then, we have made temporary arrangements for them where they can be safe from such threats as they experienced recently.