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Indian boatman tells of finding baby in a box floating on Ganges

Posted on Jun 18, 2021

A boatman in India has rescued a 21-day-old baby girl found floating in a closed wooden box near the banks of Ganges river in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The box was decorated with images of Hindu deities and the baby was wrapped in a red cloth. Incense sticks used in Hindu worship were placed besides the child’s horoscope chart and a piece of paper reading “Daughter of the Ganga”, the Hindi word for the holy river.

Gullu Chaudhary was at the water’s edge on Monday when he and others in Ghazipur town heard a baby crying.

“No one was ready to go and check,” he later told the media. “I rushed and on opening the box I found a baby there.”

Videos showing Chaudhary taking the girl out of the box have been widely shared on social media this week and the local authorities have rewarded him with a boat.

Chaudhary took the infant home before local officials admitted her to hospital where her health was being monitored. He said he wanted to bring up the girl and considered her a gift from the river. “Mother Ganges has given her to me,” he said.

The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, praised the boatman for rescuing the girl and said he would receive welfare benefits. The government would take care of the baby, he said.

Police are investigating how long the girl had been in the box and trying to locate her parents. Abandoning a baby is an offence in India.

“The baby is fine and under the observation of doctors,” a police official said. “We are trying to ascertain facts in this incident.”

India is home to around 30 million orphaned and abandoned children, according the Unicef. The vast majority of those abandoned are girls, because boys are considered more desirable.