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Shot dead, 6-yr-old saved 5 lives with her organs. But her Noida family is more scared than proud

A bullet hit 6-yr-old Rolly Prajapati while she was sleeping at her own home. A month on, her parents are glad that her organs saved lives, but fear the culprits might return.

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New Delhi: Rolly Prajapati has become a star on social media for being the youngest organ donor at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), giving at least five ailing children a new lease of life. But for her family, the grief and shock of losing their six-year-old daughter, who was hit by a bullet in the head while she lay asleep in her own home, is like a festering wound.

Between the bittersweet realisation that their daughter helped save many lives, and the harsh truth that she is no more, Rolly’s parents are living in deep fear for their own lives, and that of their five remaining children.

Since Rolly’s death, the family of seven has been sleeping in a cramped room, the only enclosed space in the unlit cubbyhole that they call home at Om Sai City Colony in Noida’s Sector 121. 

The colony, which is basically just a row of unfinished houses in between small patches of land and dusty, barely motorable roads, stands surrounded by plush high-rises. It has no electricity supply, so the residents make do with errant, illegal connections for which they each shell out Rs 1,000 per month. 

The entrance to the Prajapati family's house at Om Sai City Colony in Noida’s Sector 121 | Mohana Basu | ThePrint
The entrance to the Prajapati family’s house at Om Sai City Colony in Noida’s Sector 121 | Mohana Basu | ThePrint

With the Noida police yet to arrive at a concrete lead on who could be behind the gunshot, Rolly’s mother Poonam Devi, 30, is too afraid to leave her remaining children —  Deepak (15), Khushboo (13), Khushi (8), Karamvir (7) and Preeti (4) — alone at home when she goes to work at a local food outlet, where she is a cook.

Rolly’s father Harnarayan told ThePrint that after she was shot, he tried to file a complaint against members of a family, going by the last name Yadav, with whom the Prajapatis are embroiled in a land dispute back in their native village in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj district. However, the FIR ultimately registered at Noida’s Phase 3 police station on 29 April, two days after Rolly’s death, only mentioned ‘unnamed assailants’, he claimed.

“The police have made no arrests since then. In fact, they even tried to frame us, saying that the bullet came from inside the house. Would anyone do this to their own daughter?” he asked.

Harnarayan’s brother Prempal said they just want some assurance that they won’t be in danger anymore.

“The police are under some pressure, else why wouldn’t they name them (the Yadavs) in the FIR? What do we do with all the praise for donating our child’s organs? We are happy that we got to help out five families, but what about us? We lost our child and we are now afraid that they will come back to attack us again,” he added. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Noida) Harish Chander told ThePrint that investigation of the case is underway: “Initial forensic reports show that the bullet originated from within the house, not from outside. We are still investigating.”

The DCP confirmed that the FIR was lodged against unknown persons.

Also Read: Dedicated teams, cost, facilities — why pvt hospitals do over 75% of organ transplants in India

What happened on 27 April

At around 9 pm on 27 April, Rolly was sleeping soundly on a cot in the verandah of her home. Her mother, who was preparing dinner, and father had their backs to the entrance of the house when a loud bang rent the air, followed by a scream — “Mummy!”

Her parents said they rushed towards Rolly, who tried to get up, but collapsed. They couldn’t understand what had happened only until seconds later, when they saw blood trickling from their daughter’s head.

Harnarayan and Poonam rushed Rolly to a hospital in Nithari, from where they were referred to the AIIMS Trauma Centre in Delhi.

Only after a CT scan at the hospital the next morning did they realise that Rolly had been shot in the head. She was declared brain-dead after the scan.

“I told the doctors it was not possible. She was at home, how could she have been shot? They then showed us a picture of the bullet in her head,” Harnarayan said.

Dr Deepak Gupta, a neurosurgeon at AIIMS, told ThePrint that from the CT scan that was done on the morning of 28 April, it was evident that a bullet was lodged in Rolly’s head. 

“The bullet looked like it came from a desi katta (a country made gun). When I realised she was brain dead, I spoke to her father about considering organ donation. Initially, they did not agree. They had no idea about organ donation. But next day I spoke to them again, and they agreed,” Dr Gupta further said.

The organ donations

On 30 April, with Harnarayan and Poonam’s consent, AIIMS doctors went ahead with the organ donation process.

“Her liver, kidneys, heart valves and two corneas were taken,” Dr Gupta said, adding that the organs have given at least five critically ill children a fighting chance at life. 

Rolly’s story soon went viral on social media, with many people lauding her parents’ courage. 

“Dr Gupta explained to us that we could not bring our child back, but she could live through so many other children. Eventually we agreed. We are happy that we did this,” Harnarayan told ThePrint.

Also Read: Two hospitals in Faridabad, Chennai launch new centre for fast organ transplant services

‘She loved going to school’

Sitting in her home in Noida, Poonam wiped away tears as she recalled how excited Rolly was when she started going to school last year.

“She started accompanying her elder sister to school on her own and insisted that she wanted to go too. I borrowed Rs 4,000 to secure her admission at a local school,” the grieving mother said. 

Rolly's pictures and school books | Mohana Basu | ThePrint
Rolly’s pictures and school books | Mohana Basu | ThePrint

Harnarayan and Poonam, who managed to earn Rs 25,000 per month between themselves, had promised each other that their children would grow up to be independent individuals, and ensured that each of them got the opportunity of an education. 

Not knowing how to read, Poonam asked her daughter Khushboo to help her find Rolly’s report card, which showed a marked improvement in her scores this year. 

Rolly's report card | Mohana Basu | ThePrint
Rolly’s report card | Mohana Basu | ThePrint

She broke down as she narrated how Rolly’s teacher called them up on hearing the news of their daughter’s death. 

“She used to like Rolly a lot. She said Rolly was very enthusiastic as a learner,” said Poonam. 

The couple suspects that members of the Yadav family had intended to kill Harnarayan on the night that Rolly was shot. 

Harnarayan still fears that after what happened to Rolly, his other children’s lives may be under threat. He claimed that the Yadav family had threatened them when they tried to store their hay in an empty plot adjoining that family’s land. 

He also alleged that he had tried to file a complaint against the Yadavs, but was turned away by police.

Despite all they have been through, the couple expressed hope that their daughter’s story would inspire more people to pledge their organs. “My daughter is still alive. She is playing and laughing through other children, and bringing joy to their parents,” Poonam said.

(With inputs from Bismee Taskin)

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: Why Modi govt’s new autopsy rules will eliminate delays for families, boost organ donation


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