Jorhat, June 5: Boy for sale. Price: Rs 6,000. Seller: Father
A widower who thought selling his three-year-old son to someone better off was the ultimate act of fatherly love and sacrifice today hit the streets of Golaghat town of Assam, hoping to clinch a deal for himself and the child.
It was a typical Monday morning in the Upper Assam town with children and office-goers rushing to their schools and offices until Bhaba Baruah, 23, started hawking his son on a busy street. “I want to sell my son for Rs 6,000. Are you interested' He can help you with the household chores,” the man announced to passersby.
As a crowd milled around the father-son duo, news of the street drama reached the office of the Golaghat unit of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and a few activists rushed to the site to stop Baruah from doing the unthinkable.
On being asked why he wanted to get rid of his minor son, Bhaba said the boy had become a burden on him since his mother’s death eight months ago. “I cannot go out to find work, leaving him alone at home. There is no one to look after him,” he said.
AASU vice-president Jatin Bora, who was in the student union’s Golaghat office when the incident occurred, said over phone that some members of his organisation later verified that the boy was Bhaba’s son.
“We found out that Bhaba hails from Balipathar, in Karbi Anglong. He married about five years ago and the couple had a son but his wife died of complications during another pregnancy. He has nobody else to call his own except a sister, who is married,” Bora said.
Prodded by AASU activists, Bhaba admitted that he had borrowed money from a moneylender and intended to clear his debt with the amount he hoped to get by selling his son.
Bora said Bhaba’s sister Nira, a resident of Bokajan in Karbi Anglong, was traced immediately and informed of her sibling’s act. “We sent father and son to Bokajan and requested Bhaba’s sister to take care of the boy,” the AASU vice-president said.
When The Telegraph contacted her, Nira said she found it impossible to believe that her brother would try to make money out of his son. “He loves his son so much. I cannot believe it unless I meet my brother,” she said.
Nira claimed that Bhaba and his son were on their way to Nagaon, but had to stay back in Golaghat for a day because they missed the last bus to Bokajan.
She admitted, however, that her brother was the “black sheep of the family” and had been leading the life of a vagabond. “He married early and his wife died due to pregnancy complications,” she added. Nira has promised to take care of the boy.