She was lost to the world and reared in a Liluah home. She was adopted into a whole new world at age nine. She is now back in the Howrah home as a 16-year-old, her future hanging by a judicial thread.
A 65-year-old woman of Purbachal, in Salt Lake, has filed a habeas corpus in Calcutta High Court to get back her 16-year-old daughter, whom she had adopted from the Liluah home in 1997.
The girl was allegedly kidnapped six months ago. Police claimed to have rescued her, and the court directed that she be sent back to where she was before being adopted — the Liluah Rescue Home.
Justice N.A. Chowdhury of the state’s apex court is expected to hear the woman’s petition when the court reopens after summer vacation on Monday.
The petitioner, a retired state government employee who did not wish to be named, told the court that neither she nor her 70-year-old husband could live without their daughter.
According to the petition, on December 5, 2003, after returning home from school, the girl went to a grocery store, and never returned.
The same day, the adoptive mother lodged a complaint with Salt Lake (South) police station that her daughter had been kidnapped. Abduction bids had been made earlier, too, she added.
The next day, the girl was produced before the juvenile justice court in Salt Lake by police, who claimed to have rescued her from the street.
The petitioner then approached the principal judge of the juvenile court, seeking permission to bring her daughter back home. But the judge sent the girl back to the Liluah Rescue Home.
The adoptive mother has brought serious charges of kidnapping and girl-running against the state-run rescue home for women. She has sought a court order restraining the authorities from sending the girl to any other state-run home.
In her petition, the mother said her fears were aggravated by the recent damaging observations of state human rights commission chairman Shyamal Sen, who had visited the home.
The woman feared that her daughter was not safe in the rescue home as, she alleged, the authorities regularly subjected her to mental torture.
“My daughter should be sent to a government-run hospital for treatment till she is allowed to return home,” she said.
Her counsel Tapas Bhanja said that in 1997, when the girl was only nine and was being raised at the Liluah home, the petitioner had adopted her by furnishing a bond that she would take care of the child to the best of her ability.
She also gave an undertaking that she would not hesitate to hand over the child if any couple could prove that she was its biological child.
“My client has kept her word. After receiving custody of the child, she made sure that the girl underwent thorough medical treatment before her name was changed and she was admitted to a Salt Lake school,” said Bhanja.
The adoptive mother alleged in her petition that the Liluah home authorities were involved in the girl’s abduction.
B. Bagchi, assistant superintendent of Liluah Rescue Home, dismissed the charges: “The girl is staying at the Sukanya home and not in Liluah… The allegations brought against us are baseless and false.”