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Baby finds home, court frowns

Calcutta, Jan. 17: A decade through their married life, they got what they were looking for — a daughter — when a three-day-old girl, found by a member of a local club, was handed over to them on Wednesday.

Or so thought Milan and Mala Ray of Kasundia Bakultala in Shibpur.

Today, however, they learnt that matters would not be so easy. After spending a day at the court, the Rays returned home with “their daughter”, but with a victory that could be transient.

It may last only till police find the real parents of the baby, abandoned in a Howrah bylane two days ago when the temperature was dipping to the lowest in 14 years.

On Wednesday, while returning home, Manas Chakraborty heard a wail from a tiny bundle on a raised step outside a house in an alley. Some probing spilled a baby girl — blue from the cold that, however, did not hide the sharpness of her features — from the bundle of clothes.

Chakraborty took the child to the local club. The commotion there attracted the Rays within a few minutes.

They were the first to reach the club and stumble on their long-awaited daughter, whom they promptly named Bakul, after the locality where she was discovered. Yesterday, a doctor examined Bakul at the Rays’ home and said she could not be more than three days old.

A neighbour, with the Rays’ approval, informed the Shibpur police station and filed a general diary. Soon after, things changed for the middle-aged couple busy rejoicing the “birth of a child”. They were told the court would decide on the girl’s — and their — fate and its decision would be final.

Today, the anxious couple, with all the trappings of new parents — bottles of milk and warm water, and lots of fresh clothes — reached the court around 11 am. Three hours later, they found their way into the chief judicial magistrate’s room. Hangers-on added to their anxiety saying the baby would “most probably” be handed over to a government home.

Another three hours later, a little before 5 pm, chief judicial magistrate B. Das took up their case. He ordered a mixed bag of temporary reprieve and apprehension for the Rays.

Das let the Rays keep the baby pending a final decision, but also ordered Shibpur police to find out the whereabouts of Bakul’s real parents “as soon as possible”.

According to the Rays’ lawyer, Deb Kumar Addya, the chief judicial magistrate’s final decision will follow once the police find the real parents.

Try telling that to the Rays. “Where were her ‘real parents’ – and the law — when Bakul was left out in the cold'” Mala asked.

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