The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Handcuffs free mother, not child
Swati at her grandparents’ home. Telegraph picture

Calcutta, March 5: Surendra Pratap Sau took his wife home last night, but only after police handcuffed him and marched him to the nursing home where he had left Neetu since she gave birth to a daughter four months ago.

Swati, the baby girl, is still waiting for her father to come and scoop her up in his arms.

After a visit from the state women’s commission, Surendra promised he would take back his daughter from Kankinara in North 24-Parganas, where she is staying with Neetu’s parents. But he does not have the time yet, he said, seething at the “police treatment”.

“I was picked up from my residence, taken handcuffed to the nursing home in Barrackpore, where I was ordered by officials to sign my wife’s release,” he said.

The problem could have been “amicably settled between the two families”, said the man who had not cared to visit his wife and child in the nursing home for four months. Till the police knocked on the door of their Bhadreshwar home in Hooghly, Surendra and his family had allegedly refused to have anything to do with “a woman who gave birth to a girl”.

After taking back Neetu, a cardiac patient who turned into a nervous wreck during the four-month wait for her husband at Panacea Nursing Home and had to be put on ventilator, Surendra put her in Chandernagore Sub-Divisional Hospital. But the state women’s commission intervened and Neetu was shifted to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital for treatment today.

Surendra told the women’s commission team — vice-chairperson Rama Das and co-members Bharati Mutsuddi and Bindu Jutsi — that he would “soon” bring his daughter home. “The troubles between the two families are now over and we have no problem in bringing back my daughter,” he said.

But there were no signs of that happening today. “Our son-in-law has not spoken to us since last night after being forced to sign and take Neetu back,” Neetu’s father Madhusudan Sau said. “We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that Swati does not have to wait for four more months to go to her own home.”

Mutsuddi said the commission would “request the Hooghly district magistrate to act if our instructions are not followed”, promising to be more vigilant with Swati, who has forced the glare on the dark world of the girl child in the city with a heart, than they were with her mother.

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