Mumbai: Separated by Kandivli blaze, children united at mosque

In the chaos following the blaze at Damu Nagar, several children were separated from their families but were finally reunited at a nearby mosque

The loudspeakers at Laxmi Nagar’s Gausia mosque are usually used to broadcast the call to prayer, but yesterday, they were the answer to the prayers of many families who had been separated from their children in the blaze at the nearby Damu Nagar.

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In the aftermath of the fire at Damu Nagar, kids were given a safe haven at Gausia mosque as they waited to be reunited with their parents. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
In the aftermath of the fire at Damu Nagar, kids were given a safe haven at Gausia mosque as they waited to be reunited with their parents

The mosque was opened up to children found wandering on their own, and it quickly became a reunion point for several families, thanks to the efforts of eight youths from the community. The inferno at Damu Nagar had led to chaos, and many children were separated from their parents.

Taiyyab Shaikh, an M Com student and resident of Laxmi Nagar, and his friends helped to reunite at least 20 kids with their families. Eight-year-old Sameer Patel was one such kid, who sat patiently at the mosque, munching on biscuits and waiting for Taiyyab and his friends to locate his parents.

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Children were asked to sit and were given water and snacks while the youths approached NCC cadets who were at the spot, writing names of the parents who had lost contact with their children. Children were gathered at four spots, of which Gausia mosque became one of the main meeting points for the families, thanks to the announcements on the loudspeakers.

“The kids were first taken to Evershine Garden, from where we brought them to the mosque. We started looking for their parents in the meantime. The children from the nearby Saraswati and Raj schools also came to the mosque and their parents were informed,” said Taiyyab.

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Laxmi Patil was another Damu Nagar resident who found her three children, Poonam, Nakulesh and Bhushan with the help of Taiyyab and his friends. “There was no way we would have found our children without their help, as there was absolute chaos. Somehow I got to know that the children are safe at the mosque and met them there. I was relieved to see them sitting happily there,” she said.

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