In the wee hours of February 8, when the region was still reeling under severe chill, a newborn girl was wrapped in a polythene bag and abandoned near a garbage dump at Vijay Nagar in Jalandhar. Her cries broke the silence of the locality, bringing some Good Samaritans to her rescue.
Soon cops rushed there and took the baby in their custody. Later, she was handed over to a social welfare organisation, which named her Avneet, meaning kind-hearted.
It’s been a month and today Avneet is everyone’s favourite at ‘Unique Home’, where she was brought after week-long treatment for chest infection and wounds on her back and legs at a private hospital. Run by Bhai Ghanayya Ji Charitable Trust, ‘Unique Home’ is an orphanage for girl children.
Other children at the orphanage look forward to play with the infant, while the staff works round the clock to provide her and other kids proper care.
Case, like many others, is unsolved
Meanwhile, police are still clueless about the people who abandoned Avneet, and the case hasn’t moved forward after registration of a first information report (FIR). Division No. 2 station house officer (SHO) inspector Kuldeep Singh says they have scanned closed-circuit television footage to identify the culprits, and even sought help of local health workers to trace the infant’s mother, but to no avail.
Like Avneet, many newborn girls are abandoned by their families in the region. ‘Unique Home’ gave shelter to two such girls last year as well. As many as 13 girl foetuses had also been recovered from various parts of the city between April 2012 and December 2015. Cops have made only four arrests, and that too in only one of these cases, while others are still pending.
“It’s a tragedy that people worship girls during Navratras, but treat the girl child in such an inhumane manner,” says Surinder Saini, a city-based NGO activist. NGOs and institutions like ‘Unique Home’ want people to contact them or leave newborns in cradles installed outside orphanages instead of killing or dumping them.