The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Baby dumped for want of Rs 350

Calcutta, Sept. 14: Unable to put together Rs 350 to bury her niece’s still-born baby, a woman dumped it in a bush in Park Circus last evening.

There was commotion near bridge no. 4 this morning as residents spotted the body lying in the garbage.

A token was found tied to the baby, indicating its date and time of birth, weight and the name of the physician under whom it was born. But the name of the hospital was not mentioned.

Police were soon contacted and a sub-inspector of Karaya police station, M. Rahman, took custody of the body. The police then got in touch with National Medical College and Hospital, which is closest to the spot the body was found.

Hospital authorities informed the police that one Hayatan Bibi had taken custody of the dead baby as its mother, Mumtaz Khan, had to remain in hospital for treatment.

The authorities also produced a copy of the discharge certificate issued to the child’s guardian.

The police said the 19-year-old Mumtaz was hospitalised on Thursday and delivered a still-born male baby the day after.

The body was handed over for burial to Mumtaz’s aunt, who lives on G.J. Khan road in the Topsia area, but Bibi dumped it in a bush on her way home under the cover of darkness.

Rahman picked up Hayatan from her residence today and questioned her for two-and-a-half hours.

“I live in a rented house and, for the past few months, have not been able to pay rent to my landlord. My husband died a long time ago and I live alone in the house and earn my livelihood by working as a maid,” Hayatan told the police.

“Believe me, I did not have any money to bury the baby. I was not even in a position to pay the cleric who was to perform the last rites. Mumtaz was in hospital, so I had no option but to dump the baby in a bush,” she added.

Mumtaz’s husband, Azad, is a drug addict and does not maintain his family, the police said.

“He was aware that his wife had been admitted to hospital for delivery. But he did not bother to visit her at the hospital nor did he stay at home for the past two nights,” Bibi said.

Asked if they would initiate action against Bibi, the police said they had not taken any decision yet and were awaiting instructions from seniors. The officials intend to handle the case sympathetically, given the family’s financial status.

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