Even a few weeks back, they had slept happily in their mother's lap knowing nothing about a grim future that was to befall them soon. A cruel twist of events separated them from their mother forever, throwing them into a world of uncertainty.
Four-year old Mim and her two-year old brother Arif had been passing their hapless days at the Victim Support Centre of Dhaka Metropolitan Police in Tejgaon in the capital since their mother died two weeks ago.
Their mother, Asma, died of cardio respiratory failure at Dhaka Medical College Hospital on August 4 while their father, Shahjahan, had been killed in a road accident about six months back, said an official at the centre.
The loss the children were going through was colossal. They, however, were too small to come to terms with this.
Mim could talk, somewhat hesitatingly though. She could utter her mother's and brother's name. She also seemed to be aware of her father's death in an accident but when this correspondent asked about her mother, she said, “My mother is at work.”
During a visit at the centre, they were seen playing with female police members who had been looking after them.
“I had serious trouble sleeping last night as I could not stop thinking about their fate,” Fatiha Yesmin, additional deputy commissioner of the centre, told this correspondent as tears welled up in her eyes.
After Asma's death, Anjuman-e Mafidul Islam received her body as none came to receive it. The whereabouts of her late husband and his family could also not be known from any source.
Deputy Commissioner of Victim Support Centre Shamima Begum said Shahbagh police had given the two children under their custody after their mother's death. She said they were desperately looking for a legal guardian for the children but were yet to find any.
"Several people have already showed interest to adopt the children but only the court can decide whether they will be given to any foster parent or to a child care centre," she said.
Asma has one step-brother named Humayun Kabir who works as a peon at a Rajshahi clinic. He said Asma was her only family member and they had lost their parents around nine years back.
"I'm already finding it very difficult to make both ends meet. I cannot afford to raise Asma's children even if I wanted to," a downcast Kabir said.