If you thought nothing can part a mother from her child, think again.
Driven by poverty, a couple recently handed over their infant son to a childless couple – only to have local residents complain to the police that he was sold off to them. While officers ruled out any monetary transaction in this regard, they returned the child to its biological parents on Friday because the adoption procedure was allegedly illegal.
Police said that the couple, residents of Sector 16 in Agra’s Sikandra Housing Scheme, is dependant on the husband’s earnings as a ragpicker to pay for their daily expenses. His meagre wages, however, are hardly enough to bring enough food to their table or rear their children – a three-year-old daughter and a two-month-old son, who constantly falls sick.
Recently, the male child had fallen critically ill again, and the couple had to sell off their valuables to foot the medical bills. However, even that turned out to be insufficient.
“We are unable to manage even our day-to-day affairs, and this forced us to hand the child over for adoption,” said the mother. “(The last time he fell ill) I had to sell all my ornaments to get him treated.”
Her husband’s addiction to liquor also contributes to their poverty, she added.
Police said the ‘adoption’ occurred after the mother came into contact with one Ganga Prasad, a resident of Rudawal in Bharatpur district, who had remained childless despite being married for 16 years. When Prasad showed his willingness to adopt the child, the couple agreed reluctantly. Soon, a stamped document was drawn up, and the two-month-old changed hands.
Denying the neighbours’ charges that the child was sold for Rs 2 lakh, Sikandra police station in-charge Hari Mohan Singh said: “The allegations were found to be untrue. Poverty forced the couple to give their son for adoption to Ganga Prasad. However, as legal formalities were not followed, the child was handed back to her mother.”
The mother also denied the charges levelled against her. “I swear that I have not received any money,” she claimed.