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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Child Rights panel to probe infant abandonment in Bangalore

Child Rights panel to probe infant abandonment in Bangalore
Panel for protection of child rights to submit recommendations to government soon on issue of infants being sold or abandoned

December 11, 2009

The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has decided to probe the circumstances leading to increasing number of infants being abandoned or sold in Bangalore and elsewhere in the state and submit its recommendations to the government. The announcement comes in the backdrop of the Bangalore Mirror sting operation on Tuesday. That particular incident and its wider ramifications were at the centre of discussions at different forums on the occasion of International Human Rights Day on Thursday.

Citing two Bangalore Mirror cover stories - ‘We bought a 16-day-old baby published on Wednesday, and ‘Many more babies are being sold’, published on Thursday - the Commission’s chairperson Nina Nayak described the baby-sale racket as a menace that needs to be given top priority. She said: “This is happening not just in Bangalore, but in other parts of the state too. But the most unfortunate thing is that a majority of these incidents are not reported. Moreover, cases of infants being abandoned in Bangalore are on the rise.” In fact, the Commission has registered 90 cases pertaining to child rights violation and abandoning of infants in the past five months. These include complaints lodged by the parents of children and those registered suo-motu by the Commission on the basis of media reports.

“We are studying the issues related to the violation of child rights and will find out what are the reasons for this. We will get all the facts and then make our recommendations to the government on what action should be taken in such cases,” Nina added. About the baby rescued by BM, Nina said the Commission will register a suo motu case and ask the police to give a report on the incident. She also said that once such a case is registered with the police, it will go on as a criminal case and the accused will be produced in the court.

Apart from requesting the government to initiate steps to prevent infant-trafficking, the Commission felt the government should increase the number of cradle centres. Explained Nina: “If there are more cradle centres (Shishu Mandirs), women can come and leave their babies there instead of abandoning them wherever they feel like.”

The move is likely to act as a deterrent. In a majority of cases, those who abandon their children are either unwed mothers or those who hail from extremely poor families. “If there are enough cradle centres, the chances of these mothers leaving their babies at these centres are high. They might not hand over their babies to some unscrupulous elements who make fast money by selling babies or pushing them into the beggary racket,” said a volunteer from a social welfare organisation based in Bangalore Rural District.

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