Child welfare bodies indulged in a series of cover-ups to deny Anupama her newborn

Anupama S Chandran, the 23-year-old mother who recently accused her parents of forcefully taking away her newborn, staging a protest in front of the Kerala Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri

Thiruvananthapuram: The controversy over an unsavoury adoption row is getting murkier with early hints pointing to the complicity of the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare and apathetic political leaders. It is suspected that the apex agency tasked with the rescue of children indulged in a series of norm violations to separate the baby from her mother apparently to help her politically connected parents.

The government, on Friday, has ordered a probe into the incident soon after it came to light that CPM leaders, especially its unit in Thiruvananthapuram, ignored the complaint of the young mother who happen to be a former leader of CPM's student wing, the Students' Federation of India (SFI).

The complainant Anupama S Chandran had earlier accused her parents of forcefully taking away her newborn and handing him over to the Council for adoption.

Anupama's father and a local CPM committee member P S Jayachandran said the baby boy was handed over to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) late on October 22, 2020. But the Council has been claiming that it got the baby boy from an 'Ammathottil', a cradle facility initiated by the government to take care of abandoned children, and not from the blood relatives of the infant.

It has been also alleged that Council employees received the child, violating the norm that mandated only the CWC could take over children brought to it by blood relatives. It was also alleged that the Council employees had advance information of the child being brought to them.

The child, mentioned as female when he was taken for a medical check-up by the CWC staff, was christened Malala. The Council had earlier termed it a mistake, but the intention of the wrong entry of the child's gender in medical records by the CWC raises doubts over the exact intent. Two CWC employees, who were suspended when the issue came to limelight, were soon reinstated.

Adding to the series of irregularities, the Council even managed to get a "legally free for adoption" certification from the CWC, in violation of the norm that this cannot be allowed when the baby's parents were still alive. The certificate was issued after the baby's parents, Ajith Kumar and Anupama, had approached the council and committee for the child. The national body, the Central Adoption Resources Authority, even put up the notification for the baby's adoption on its website after his parents approached the state-level child welfare bodies.

It is further alleged that the infant's adoption process was hurriedly completed despite another baby, with no claimants, was available for adoption. Incidentally, even as the controversy was raging, the authorities submitted before a family court last week that the baby had no parents.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that the baby's birth certificate, too, was fudged. The certificate mentioned the father's name as C Jayakumar, instead of Ajith Kumar. Anupama, who gave birth to the child at a private hospital in Kattakada, alleged that the wrong entry had been made at the behest of her parents.

Anupama, meanwhile, levelled serious accusations against the CPM. She made the accusations soon after the party's Thiruvananthapuram district secretary Anavoor Nagappan revealed that the CPM district secretariat had discussed her complaint.

Nagappan said the party had asked Anupama's father Jayachandran to reunite the baby with his mother after receiving the complaint. Anupama, however, went on record saying that she had lost trust in the party, CPM, and Nagappan had been rude to her when she met him with the complaint.

The distraught young mother further alleged that the CPM ousted her saying she had not remitted the party levy after her decision to live with Ajith.

Ajith, a divorcee, was a former local leader of the CPM and its youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI). Anupama's parents had been opposed to her relationship with him. She gave birth to a child out of wedlock when in a relationship with Ajith.

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