A Graveyard
A Graveyard Image Credit: REUTERS

Five siblings have been found living in a graveyard in India, after their parents died of AIDS.

The children, who are between seven and 17 years old, are from a village called Jamuna, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The village lies 160km west of the state capital of Lucknow.

The children were forced to live in the graveyard after being chased out of their homes by other villagers. It is believe they were abandoned due to the fear of contracting the disease from their deceased parents.

The children's father, Vahizzudin, died a few years ago. Their mother, Ashiyana Bano, followed her husband in June. Tragically, two weeks after her death, the children were evicted.

And with no place to go, the children put up a tent near their parents' graves and survived on handouts from some of the villagers.

"We eat the food given by some villagers but we are not allowed to enter the village. We have also stopped going to the school," one of them said.

"We had nowhere to go, so we are living in the graveyard," the oldest said, adding, "Our father and mother are buried here."

Local government organisations only came to the aid of the children after newspaper reports made the matter public. According to the Daily News & Analysis (DNA), a residential plot is to be allotted to the children and the government will help them build a house and provide water and electricity..

"The sub-divisional magistrate was sent to the village and a residential plot will soon be allotted to the family," district magistrate Vidya Bhushan explained, adding, "The local ration licencee has also been directed to issue the children a Below Poverty Limit (BPL) card and immediately supply food to them."

Meanwhile, the DNA report claims senior medical officials have also been called in, to check if the children are HIV-positive. Authorities say that if this is the case, they will be given the necessary treatment.