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Delhi abandons 300 babies every year

Only 16 government hospitals in Delhi receive over 300 abandoned newborns every year with some of them being thrown on the streets for having medical deficiencies.

delhi Updated: Mar 24, 2010 23:59 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Only 16 government hospitals in Delhi receive over 300 abandoned newborns every year with some of them being thrown on the streets for having medical deficiencies.

Thankfully, majority of them are adopted within India and abroad.

“It is a tip of an iceberg,” said Aparna Sareen, a volunteer with Campaign Against Child Trafficking (CACT), who had filed a series of Right To Information (RTI) applications in the last one-year to dig out this information.

“Most of the unwarranted children are born in private hospitals and we don’t have way to access that information.”

The RTI replies revealed a worrying fact that most people, who abandoned newborns did not opt for relinquishing them legally as provided under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2009.

“A person can present a case for relinquishing a child with the Child Welfare Committee,” said Raj Mangal Prasad, of NGO Pratidhi.

But this does not happen. Around 60 children were relinquished in adoption homes but Sareen said there was no information on who left them there.

Apparently unaware about this provision, around 600 children were found abandoned, between 2007 and 2009, mostly in dustbins and drains. And, they landed in 16 government hospitals.

“We have seen newborns with dog bites all over,” said Charu Makkar, member of Child Welfare Committee Nirmal Chayya. Under the JJ Act, the CWC declares an abandoned child legally free for adoption.

CWC president Neera Mallik, said: “Children with medical deficiencies at birth are also left to die on roads. Police bring some of them to us but we don’t have facilities to take care of them.”

Despite over 300 children abandoned every year, there is shortage of children for adoption with most agencies in Delhi able to meet only half of the demand.

As only June 2009, 1,266 parents in India and 243 foreigners were waiting for children to adopt from Delhi homes. It happens in a country where a child dies every two hours because of malnourishment, infant mortality, infanticide or female foeticide.