Prayagraj: It has been over three months since the two minor sons of slain gangster Atiq Ahmad, have been lodged in a juvenile shelter home for no apparent fault of theirs.
The two sons are now being counselled by experts to help them overcome the shock of the deaths of their father, uncle Ashraf, elder brother Asad.
The two minors, aged 15 and 17, have been kept separately from the other children due to security reasons.
Counselling is helping change their behaviour so that they do not follow in the footsteps of their other family members who were involved in crimes, said officials.
The boys are being kept at the shelter home since there are no immediate family members to take care of them.
According to a senior police official, the two boys were found loitering in the Chakia area on March 2, after which they were admitted to the shelter home.
They were studying in a prominent English-medium school in Prayagraj. The boys failed to appear for their examinations this year following their alleged detention by the Dhoomanganj police.
After the police started conducting raids in search of assailants involved in February 24 murders of lawyer Umesh Pal and two of his police guards, Atiq’s wife Shaista Parveen’s lawyers filed an application before the court asking the police to disclose the whereabouts of her two minor sons.
The police, at first, denied having custody of the duo but later said the boys were found loitering alone in Chakia area on March 2 and were admitted to a shelter home.
However, Shaista’s lawyers again approached the court on her behalf and claimed that the two minor boys were not at this shelter home.
On March 24, Dhoomanganj police admitted before the court that the two minor sons of Atiq were at another children’s shelter home.
Atiq Ahmed and Ashraf were killed in an attack while in police custody on April 15 night. Atiq’s third eldest son Asad was killed in an encounter with the STF on April 13 near Jhansi.
Even as Shaista Parveen (also an accused in Umesh Pal murder) was on the run with a cash reward of Rs 50,000 on her head, there was no one to take custody of the two minor boys.
Moreover, Atiq’s two eldest sons — Ali and Umar — who can take care of their young brothers were also lodged in Lucknow and Naini Central Jail in separate cases.
“Along with other children at the child shelter, Atiq’s two minor sons are also being counselled by experts. A change has been observed in their behaviour,” said Pankaj Mishra, Prayagraj district probationary officer.