Foul smell emanates as 28 female infants die in orphange


HYDERABAD: An orphanage in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh has been playing foul with its registers and not reported the death of 28 of its female infants in the last two months, a voluntary organisation alleged on Friday.

The city-based Deccan development society, which sent its fact-finding team comprising NGOs to the Tandur-based John Abraham Memorial Bethany home, found during its visit last week that more horror stories were in store than the hitherto-reported instances of infant sales.

"We have learnt that as many as 28 female infants in the home have died since the last two months," Society Director Rukmini Rao said, highlighting the findings of the fact-finding team which had its visit to the orphanage on April 15.

The mission was a follow-up exercise to a visit to the orphanage by Dr Shanta Reddy, member of the National commission for women, on April 10 to probe on reported sale of babies.

"A quick perusal of the documents showed a number of anomalies in the files about the dead children. For example, permission to adopt some children was given by the voluntary agencies coordination agencies several months after the baby had died. This means that the vacancies out of dead children are being replaced with the ones newly brought to the home for adoption," Dr Rao told a press conference here.

She said a process of "swapping" of children ensured that there would be a continuous flow of infants.

Dr Rao said that further scrutiny of records showed that entries about immunisation doses to the babies were made several months after they had died, proving that the management was maintaining false records.

The visiting team also happened to talk with a Karnataka police team which wassimultaenously going through the records of the home following interception of a man clandestinly smuggling three girl babies from a tribal hamlet near Hubli. "They (police officials) told our team that nearly 18 babies were reportedly sold from the Chincholi and its surrounding areas which is located on the border of Medak district. Dr Rao said the home currently had 58 babies, of WHNM a child named Shyamala was suffering from Tuberculosis. "There is a danger of the disease being spreadto the other babies," she cautioned.

She said that "99 per cent" of the babies were being purchased by agents from thd surrounding Lambabdh Tandas (tribal settlements) and re-sold to the home. The dead babies were being taken away by a person, according to the homeauthorities. "No body knows whether they are burried or just dumped somewhere."

Dr Rao said that team demanded the agency that gave permission to adopt the babies must be immediately stripped of its license. The state government should instittte a CBI inquiry into the functioning of the agency.

The team also wanted the relinquishment documents to provide the address of the parents, who should thus have the right to reclaim the child if they want to do so within the stipulated period of two months. Secrecy around adoptions should be abolished and adoption shotld be affected in the native district of the parents who should directly hand over the child to the adopting couple.

Dr Rao said that the government should take the responsibility of the children in homes which failed to follow the guidelines and promote a National Adoption Programme for children. She also wanted the guidelines of cara tn be modified to make it more effective in streamlining agencies.

The government should also imlediately implement development programmes in thereginns identified as centres of child sale so that women could find means to look after their girlchild. Special programmes focussinf on girl child development must be taken up in the area, voluntary agencies must be enlisted to take up camps against child labour, bonded labour, child marriages and sale of girls, they demanded.

Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: April 23, 2001
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