Baby returned to impoverished parents who had received cash, sarees | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Baby returned to impoverished parents who had received cash, sarees

Hindustan Times, Agartala | ByPriyanka Deb Barman
Mar 05, 2020 11:06 AM IST

According to Child Line, 33-year old daily wage labourer, Swapan Das, who is currently jobless, last month gave away his fourth child to 35-year old driver Rubel Alam and his wife Anufa, who have been married for ten years and were known to Das.

A two-month old baby was returned to his impoverished parents by an NGO and the Tripura police on Monday, just weeks after he had been given away to a childless couple.

The baby boy was recovered through a joint operation of Child Line, police personnel of the state’s Unakoti district where the exchange occurred, and the Tripura Commission for Protection of Child Rights.(Shutterstock/Representative Image)
The baby boy was recovered through a joint operation of Child Line, police personnel of the state’s Unakoti district where the exchange occurred, and the Tripura Commission for Protection of Child Rights.(Shutterstock/Representative Image)

The baby boy was recovered through a joint operation of Child Line, police personnel of the state’s Unakoti district where the exchange occurred, and the Tripura Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

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According to Child Line, 33-year old daily wage labourer, Swapan Das, who is currently jobless, last month gave away his fourth child to 35-year old driver Rubel Alam and his wife Anufa, who have been married for ten years and were known to Das.

The NGO claims that it was prompted to act by an anonymous call at its toll free number. “Based on the information (we received), we first alerted the Child Welfare Committee, a wing of the Tripura Child Rights Commission,” said Kuntala Sinha, Child Line’s local in-charge. “They allowed us to investigate the matter. Accordingly, our team went to the spot along with the police.”

The team first went to Das’s house in Dhatucherra village, more than 200 kilometers from state capital Agartala, where the labourer, who used to work in tea gardens, admitted that he had handed over the baby to the childless couple as he was jobless and already struggling to feed and care for his 5-member family.

“In exchange, the couple gave him Rs. 3,000 in cash and four sarees worth 2000,-. Das said that he had no idea that there were mandatory procedures for adoption of children,” Child Line coordinator and member of the ‘rescue’ team, Abul Hussain, said.

The team then went to Rubel Alam’s house where his wife Anufa admitted both taking the child as well as the exchange of cash and clothes.

“We have returned the baby to his biological parents and are keeping a watch on the child,” Hussain said.

Col. Deepak Kumar of the New Delhi-based Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARC) explains that as long as money does not change hands, an adoption can be formalized under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (HAMA) 1956.

However and as things stand, the transaction between Das and Alam violates both HAMA but also the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

Meanwhile, opposition parties in Tripura attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the incident, with the CPM claiming that the incident illustrated how ‘pathetic’ the economic condition of the state was.

“This incident occurred due to poverty,” the party’s state secretary, Goutam Das, said.

Congress vice president, Tapas Dey pointed to unemployment.

“This is not the first time that such an incident has occurred in Tripura. If the BJP claims that there is no dearth of jobs in the state, then why does this happen? The reality is, that they are not keeping their pre-poll promises.”

Nabendu Bhattacharya, spokesperson for Tripura’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)said that the BJP had taken note of the incident, which, he said ‘might be an attempt to make an allegation against us.”

“We can say that there is no dearth of work or jobs in Tripura,” Bhattacharya added.

Tripura’s unemployment rate has come down from 7.45 lakh to 2.56 lakh at present, as said by chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb earlier.

He also said that total 2300 persons got government jobs after he formed government alongwith IPFT in 2018. Total 1395 unemployed youths got loans amounting to Rs. 34.90 crores during 2019-20.

Heartless though the return of the baby to its hapless parents may seem, Partha Munda, officer-in-charge of the Kalasahar police station was empathetic to the plight of the impoverished family.

“As per our information, Das didn’t sell his baby for money, but gave it away because he is undergoing a financial crisis. And without being asked, Alam’s family gave him the cash and sarees. Now Child Line has said they will observe whether the baby is taken care of properly or not,” Munda said.

Tea Development Corporation chairman Santosh Saha confirmed to HT that a tea garden worker earns about 200 per day.

But as of now, Swapan Das is jobless. So what will happen to his fourth-born, if he and his wife fail to live up to the expectations of the NGO and other watchdogs?

“In such a case, a child welfare committee will investigate further, while the child is in interim care in a childcare institution and the police will have to file a report,” CARC member Deepak Kumar said, adding that a child may eventually be given up for adoption.

(with inputs from Amrita Madhukalya)

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