Anupama S Chandran, the 22-year-old unwed mother who was recently reunited with her child after a year-long struggle, has vowed to continue her quest for justice with a dharna at the Thiruvananthapuram Secretariat on December 10, the International Human Rights Day.
Anupama is seeking action against those who snatched her child just three days after birth and gave for pre-adoption foster care without her and her partner Ajith Kumar’s permission. These include her own parents, both CPM workers, Shiju Khan, general secretary of Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW), and N Sunanda, chairperson of Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
Anupama and Ajith met and fell in love while agitating under the banner of Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI). As soon as Anupama’s parents got wind of her pregnancy, Ajith was expelled from DYFI. Anupama too was expelled from the SFI.
Today Left handles on social media continue to attack the couple. Their latest accusation is that Ajith has demanded compensation and a job in government. Both Ajith and Anupama while talking to The Federal denied this. They also said they would file complaints against social media handles spreading slander.
The report of the departmental inquiry looking into the mistakes committed by CWC and KSCCW is yet to come out. Though the media has reported that the inquiry conducted by T V Anupama – the director of the Women and Child Department – refers to the violations of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, and adoption regulations, the government has not yet disclosed the contents of the report.
Neither have they responded to the demand raised by Anupama to take action against those who are responsible. It is clear that the CWC and KSCCW went ahead with the adoption proceedings despite being fully aware that the biological parents were running from pillar to post in search of their baby.
Anupama had registered a complaint with the police on April 19 and raised another complaint with the CWC over phone on April 22. The CWC had an 18-minute online consultation with Anupama on the same day.
Despite having the complaints on record, the authorities proceeded with the adoption. On August 11, Anupama appeared before the CWC in person and repeated her complaint explaining the facts and circumstances that led to the abduction of her baby by her father and emphasised her suspicion that the baby had been kept at the CWC.
Three days before her appearance, the baby was handed over to prospective adoptive couple for foster care and the decision was kept hidden from Anupama. There was one more baby in the KSCCW that was received in the cradle the next day on which Anupama’s baby was handed over by her father. CWC issued an order for DNA test for this second baby and sent Anupama to KSCCW for the test. The test apparently came out negative. Despite having all the details of the date and time of the baby’s missing, CWC never took any step to crosscheck or verify whether the baby that was handed over to the prospective adoptive parents was the right one. They moved petition in the family court to get the final order for adoption. Anupama’s open protest in public and the media uproar prompted the government to intervene at this last stage of adoption proceedings and submit an affidavit in court that the biological mother had raised a claim. The family court thus stayed the adoption proceedings and ordered the DNA test, which led to the cancellation of the proceedings and handing over the baby to its biological parents, Anupama and Ajith.
There was another instance of negligence on the part of KSCCW: Responding to Anupama’s request for a copy of the baby’s health report, it gave her a one-page document that had even the date of birth wrong.
According to the report, a copy of which is with The Federal, the baby was born on October 2, 2020; the actual date of birth is October 19, 2020.
It is also clear from the report that the child was not given all the vaccinations.
“The health report is usually an 18-page document containing all the details of the baby. What was delivered to Anupama was a shabby one-page sheet, which did not contain the complete information, which in fact carried wrong information,” said P E Usha, a convenor of the action council who has knowledge of matters regarding adoption.
The members of the action council are backing Anupama’s protest demanding penal action against Shiju Khan and Sunanda. “We will not yield to the cyber bullying and threats raised by the Left handles in social media. We will continue the protest until justice is served,” Usha told The Federal.