Mangaldoi (Assam): Two couples, whose babies were accidentally swapped soon after birth over two years ago, have decided to keep the child they have been raising, and moved a local court to settle the matter.
The issue came to public notice last week after the court fixed a hearing date in the case.
The two sets of parents - one Hindu and the other Muslim -- had doubts within days that the boy they had taken home was not theirs. But it was the Muslim couple that first raised the issue more than two years after the children were born.
"My wife had started saying that the baby we took home was not ours a week after his birth. She said his features resembled those of tribal people," high school teacher Sahabuddin Ahmed said.
Ahmed claimed that he was forced to file an RTI query on the matter after the Civil Hospital and Health Department authorities refused to help him.
"After encountering several hurdles, I was finally given access to hospital records. The records showed that a Hindu tribal woman had also given birth to a boy in the same ward in a gap of a few minutes," Ahmed said.
The anxious father then approached the tribal family, who agreed to conduct a DNA test on the two boys.
"Anil Boro, who lives in a nearby village, invited us to his house. He said he and wife had doubts about their child too," Ahmed said.
The two families belong to different villages in Assam's Mangaldoi district.
The DNA test last month confirmed that the boys had been swapped after their birth, Boro said, adding that a police case was filed by both sets of parents alleging negligence on the part of the hospital staff.
The families have, however, decided to keep the babies they had taken home two years ago instead of their biological sons.
"We are attached to the boy we have raised," said Sewali Boro, a sentiment that was echoed by Salima Ahmed.
The court has fixed January 24 as the date of hearing in the case when the two sets of parents will have to submit affidavits on their decision.