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Rajasthan couple with 7 sons wants to keep abandoned girl, faces resistance

The child welfare committee (CWC), which is the legal custodian of abandoned children, asked them to return the baby girl by Monday or face criminal charges.

jaipur Updated: Sep 25, 2017 17:14 IST
Rakesh Goswami & Suresh Foujdar
Rakesh Goswami & Suresh Foujdar
Hindustan Times, Jaipur/Saimar Ka Pura (Dholpur)
Couple,Girl Child,Sons
Leeladhar Kushwaha and wife Sukh Devi with the abandoned baby girl and their seven sons outside their house in Saimar Ka Pura village in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district.(HT PHOTO)

Having always longed for a daughter, Rajasthan farmer Leeladhar Kushwaha and his wife Sukh Devi felt their prayers had finally been answered when they brought home an abandoned girl child last week.

But the joy of the couple whose quest for a daughter gave them seven sons was short-lived. The government has stepped in, saying they cannot keep the girl and threatened to initiate criminal action against them unless they return her.

“There is a legal process for adoption. No one can keep abandoned infants just like that,” insists Dr Naresh Sharma, a member of the child welfare committee (CWC) of Dholpur, the district were the couple lives.

Dholpur CWC chairperson Bijendra Parmar asked the police to produce the girl before it by Tuesday. “We have issued orders to the police to recover the girl from her illegal parents,” he said on Monday.

Facing the prospect of being forcibly separated from the baby they see as their daughter, the couple is now distraught. They had spotted the abandoned girl near their farm in Saimar Ka Pura village and brought her home two days after their youngest son was born. Sukh Devi has been breastfeeding both the infants since then.

“This is unfair. Goddess Durga finally answered our prayers. There is no question of letting her go,” she insists.

Kushwaha also is struggling to make sense of the fuss the CWC has kicked up, particularly at a time when the emphasis of the government has been ‘Beti Bachao’.

Sukh Devi has been breastfeeding both the newborns. (HT Photo)

The farmer, who owns 1.6 acres of land and is fairly well-off, is taking legal counsel to counter the government move to take away the child from him.

But for the time being, local officials have only ominous warnings for Kushwaha and his wife. They will have to give up the child and if they want her, they will have to go through the adoption process. But an official told HT that even if Kushwaha and his wife apply to adopt her, there is no guarantee they will get the baby as there might be other applicants who might be deemed eligible.

According to Sharma of CWC, an abandoned infant becomes eligible for adoption after two months of being found. According to him, the police try to look for the baby’s biological parents in the two months. If the newborn is sick, treatment is given. All this takes close to two months. After that, the CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority) is informed and then only the child is available for adoption.

So besides reposing their faith on the legal process, Kushwaha and his wife are praying harder. They believe Goddess Durga will not disappoint them, having blessed them with a daughter.

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 09:22 IST