Gujarat parents try to burn HIV+ son

SURAT: Narendra Dholi, a 17-year-old fisherman from a small fishing village in Valsad’s Umbergaon taluka, would have been languishing in a Pakistan jail for years after he was caught in the waters of the neighbouring country earlier this year. But, jail authorities found out that he was HIV positive and promptly shipped him back to India.

However, instead of rejoicing, Narendra regrets his freedom today. In the last two months, he has been ostracised, beaten up on a number of occasions and subjected to harassment by his parents, who consider HIV God’s curse on evil souls.

Two days ago, Narendra’s father Uttam Dholi tried to set him ablaze by sprinkling kerosene on him when he was sleeping at night. But he woke up just in time and saved himself.

Melvyn Thomas, for TNN

"They don’t want me alive after they heard about my HIV status in a Mumbai hospital. They do not give me food. My father comes home drunk and beats me up,"said Narendra, who has fled home in Jamburi village, and lives on the streets in Vapi.

Narendra was jailed by Pakistani security officials in February after his boat strayed into Pakistani waters. He fell ill after a few days in a juvenile lock-up. The Pakistani government released him after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and tests revealed he was HIV positive.

He was flown from Karachi to Mumbai and immediately rushed to KEM Hospital. The Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) was instrumental in the youth’s release in May. Jatin Desai, India representative of PIPFPD, said, "We will make efforts to provide for the youth and get him a shelter in Mumbai."

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