Whose bundle of joy? The infant found in garbage on the banks of Kharkai on Monday. (Animesh Sengupta)
Finders are keepers, eh?
Around six childless couples are clamouring to adopt an infant girl who was recovered on Monday morning from a dustbin at a slag dump along Kharkai river in Jugsalai, Jamshedpur. But so is the needy family of the teenager who found the healthy baby girl bawling in the dustbin in the first place.
Too many claimants have left Jugsalai police in a fix. A meeting called around 7pm on Monday to take a “well-thought-out” decision in this regard ended in a limbo.
The police will resume deliberations on Tuesday.
The family of the teenaged girl who found the infant in the Jugsalai dustbin wants to bring her up though it is economically worse off than some other claimants — a businessman and a schoolteacher, among others.
This morning around 7, teenager Sweta Kumari was startled to hear a newborn cry near Gauri Shankar Road in Jugsalai. Following the cries, she found the infant — “very pretty and pink” — wrapped up in a towel inside the dustbin.
“There were crows swirling around the baby’s head and a pack of seven-eight dogs loitering nearby. I just grabbed the child and got her home,” said the girl who handed the crying bundle to her sister-in-law Radhika Mukhi.
Sweta added her brother Ravi, who works as a shopkeeper’s help, and sister-in-law Radhika, wanted to bring up this beautiful infant even though they had four children of their own.
Inspector Arun Kumar Mishra of Jugsalai police station said that as news of the baby girl spread, around six childless couples made a beeline to the thana.
“This has become an emotional issue now. Someone abandoned the healthy newborn in the dustbin. Sweta rescued her and put her in the lap of her sister-in-law. Whether we give the baby to the Mukhi family or the childless couples who want to raise her has to be decided amicably,” said Mishra, also the officer-in-charge of the thana.
In India, policymakers have created a framework of legal and administrative protocols to keep abandoned babies from falling into wrong hands. But explaining that to the aspirants will be a tough job. They have become possessive already.
For instance, Sheikh Nizamuddin, an employee of a courier firm, said his family wanted the baby girl for his childless sister settled in Dubai.
“Our sister’s family will give this baby girl a very good upbringing. It will be a great favour on the part of the police if they give her to us,” Nizamuddin said.
Meanwhile, waiting at the Jugsalai police station for hours were a schoolteacher, a businessman and even a motor mechanic.
Radhika was also seen waiting anxiously till late in the evening.
“So what if I have four children, but I won’t part with this newborn. I have started loving the baby girl,” she said.
Which factors should be taken into account before handing over a ‘found’ infant?