How Aadhaar helped a deaf-mute Bihar boy lost in Kerala to trace his family and true identity

Thrissur: The easily verifiable 12-digit random number, Aadhaar, is touted to be an essential digital identity by the Government of India. Attesting to its importance, a deaf-mute Bihar teen who had separated from his parents could be returned to them from a shelter home in far-off Kerala, all because of an attempt to make an Aadhaar application in his name.

Authorities of the Government Children's Home at Ramavarmapuram in Thrissur had tried to register Raju for his Aadhaar card recently. However, this providentially helped the 15-year-old to reunite with his family and also find his true identity – Vishnu Kumar Mandal.

In December 2019, the railway childline authorities had entrusted the deaf-mute boy with the Children's Home. As they did not even know his name, the officials called the 13-year-old boy as Raju and Babu. When he was shown India's map, he pointed at Bihar and Bengal. Subsequently, a few enquiries were made in these states but no leads were received. Raju quickly became friends with the other children and also became part of the football team.

To enrol him at the special school in Kottayam, an attempt was made to register for Aadhaar, which proved to be the turning point. After realising that Raju's fingerprint had already been registered in the Aadhaar registry, enquiries were made. The registration was found to be made from the pin code of Rautara village in the Katihar district of Bihar. Authorities contacted the post office in that region and the relatives soon identified the child.

His father Sunil Kumar Mandal arrived at the children's home on Thursday afternoon. And on Friday morning, Vishnu began his journey to Bihar to meet his mother and siblings.

Emotional scenes were witnessed as Vishnu bade farewell to his friends in sign language. Child Welfare chairman Dr K V Viswanathan, Children's Home superintendent VA Nishamol, and counsellor Jitesh George were also present.

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