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Shunned Muslim baby lands in Hindu haven

Siwan, Dec. 29: A Hindu couple has adopted an “illegitimate Muslim child” who had become a thorn in the side of the minority community in a small village about 36 km from here, providing one bright spark of amity in the gloom of communal polarisation.

The saga of brotherhood had begun on an ominous note last year, when a flood of anger and exasperation swept through tiny Narcotia as 20-year-old Sakina, who was studying in a college, was found in an advanced stage of pregnancy.

Her desperate parents approached doctors for an abortion, but the medical fraternity ruled out any chance of a medical termination of pregnancy.

As the child grew in his mother’s womb, so rose the tension in the village. A swirl of rumours was unleashed about a possible communal conspiracy and conflicting accounts of who could be behind Sakina’s misery. Soon, even the village elders were losing their cool and tempers were beginning to fray.

The village seemed to be sitting on a powder keg, when finally Sakina spoke. She told her family of her involvement with her elder sister’s husband, Mohammad Yusuf, who worked in the Gulf.

On learning about Sakina’s plight, Yusuf came and wanted to marry her. But the elders would not consent to the 55-year-old taking a bride less than half his age.

Sakina carried her unwanted pregnancy to term and gave birth of a boy in Dr Asha Kushawaha’s nursing home this October.

As the girl headed home, forced by her parents to leave the child behind, her community members quarrelled about the boy’s fate. Many said he should be sent to an orphanage. But the doctor at the nursing home suggested that he be given up for adoption.

Enter the Brij Kishore Singh couple. They and two other Hindu couples — J.P. Shah and G.P. Singh — evinced interest in adopting the child.

“There was no one from the Muslim community because of the obvious social taboo. But three Hindu couples approached the Ramgarh police station, seeking to adopt the child,” said Himanshu Kumar, a villager involved in the process.

The village breathed a sigh of relief when they filed applications in the court seeking adoption. “They were all childless couples looking for adoption,” said Ramjivan Kumar, another villager.

Since all three couples fulfilled the initial criteria — they were childless — the village elders and the Ramgarh police station laid another condition: a deposit of Rs 20,000. A police inquiry was made into their backgrounds and their records were placed before the court in Ramgarh.

“Brij Kishore Singh and his wife finally got to adopt the child,” said R.K. Singh, an officer of the Ramgarh police station involved in implementing the court order on the adoption.

The overjoyed couple came to Narcotia to formally take custody of the baby. He was fed milk in their lap and photographed. The two communities came together and blessed the child as he started a new innings.

The boy is growing in the fond care of his “new parents”, who are employed with a private sector unit in Tatanagar. He has been aptly named Aman.

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