Five children, siblings orphaned by AIDS, have been forced to live in a village graveyard in Pratapgarh district in UP after villagers threw them out of their house.

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The children, all aged between 17 and seven, were earlier residents of Jamua village in Pratapgarh district. For the past four months, after their parents died, the children have made a graveyard a little outside the village their home -- they have two broken cots and a plastic sheet to protect them from elements.

The siblings, four boys and a girl, were deserted by relatives who feared the children too may be infected with HIV. After local newspapers reported their plight, the news spread. The district administration swung into action, and has assured the children a home under the Indira Aawas scheme.

A senior district official said that all efforts would be made to bring the children back into the mainstream. District officials have since ordered a medical check-up of the children to ascertain if they too are HIV-positive.

A district official said that even if the children test HIV-positive, proper treatment would be given to them, and they will be taken care of.