73 infants rescued in Andhra Pradesh
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
The Andhra Pradesh Government has tightened rules for adoption, to prevent child trafficking, even as officials of the Women Development and Child Welfare Department rescued 34 babies from a fake child adoption agency in the city on Friday evening.
PTI reported that 39 infants were rescued from an adoption centre at Tandur in neighbouring Ranga Reddy district on Saturday.
The state government has framed rules prohibiting relinquishment of children by biological parents and making it mandatory for all nursing homes and hospitals to give full details of abandoned children and children of unwed mothers to the project director, Women Development and Child Welfare Department.
Private adoptions are banned and all adoptions have to be registered only after clearance from the department.
Meanwhile, officials conducted a surprise check on the premises of a voluntary organisation, styled as Action for Social Development, at Gandhinagar and found that the organisers were involved in trafficking of children by selling them to foreigners in the name of in-country and inter-country adoption.
The voluntary organisation's licence has been cancelled by the Central Adoption Regulatory Authority.
During the raid, officials led by deputy directors Sandhya and Pramodini Rani, found babies ranging in age from a month to a year. All 34 children, rescued from the voluntary organisation, have been shifted to the Sisu Vihar, run by the department at Vengal Rao Nagar in the city.
The children are being tended to by Niloufer hospital staff.
According to new rules issued by the government, information given by the nursing homes and hospitals will lead to the registration of births and they will have to admit the abandoned children in specified homes.
Orphanage Rules 2001 also empower the department to inspect any institution and cancel the licence and recognition of the children's home and transfer the children to another home as deemed fit.
An adoption cell will commence functioning in the department and it will be the sole authority for issuing the licences and recognition and for monitoring activities of institutions in future. Further, every abandoned child will be registered and particulars would be placed on an official website.
Special courts will be constituted for dealing with violations.
Shalini Mishra, director, Women Development and Child Welfare, in a statement, said that the government decided to evolve measures to control trafficking in children on a war-footing following reports of illegal procurement and sale of children by some voluntary organisations and agents.
She said child-trafficking was reported from Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Rangareddy, Medak and Hyderabad. Parents, particularly those belonging to tribal groups and poor classes, are being exploited for 'relinquishment' of their children on grounds of poverty and for better placement with prospective adopting parents abroad.
However, the voluntary organisations, which are supposed to take care of and look after orphan and abandoned children, have deviated from the principles and norms and are carrying on the trade of inter-country adoptions for monetary benefits, the director pointed out.
AP govt orders probe into child adoption racket
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday asked the Criminal Investigation Department to look into the child trafficking racket in the state, in the wake of the dramatic rescue of 93 infants and children from two adoption homes run by voluntary agencies on Friday and Saturday.
The chief minister also visited Niloufer Hospital in the city where as many as 17 rescued infants are undergoing treatment for pneumonia, respiratory infections, skin rashes and other ailments.
Accompanied by Home Minister T Devender Goud and senior officials, including Women and Child Welfare commissioner Shalini Mishra, the chief minister went round the paediatric ward and enquired about the condition of the infants. He asked the hospital authorities to deploy more maids in the ward and provide air-conditioning.
Speaking to newsmen later, the chief minister said those responsible for the child trafficking would be dealt with strictly.
Naidu promised that his government would tighten the rules for adoption.
Earlier in the day, the chief minister held a review meeting with some senior ministers and officials where the condition of the abandoned infants was discussed.
The chief minister has asked the district collector and superintendent of police of Rangareddy district to conduct a detailed inquiry into the goings-on at the Tandur adoption home and submit a comprehensive report.