| The relatives in front of the hospital. Picture by Biplab Basak
Siliguri, Nov. 10: An allegation of baby swapping at the Jalpaiguri district hospital this morning once again exposed the extreme gender bias predominant in the country, especially with respect to the newborn.
The chain of incidents began when the district hospital admitted Jhunu Roy of Charerbari village, in Mainaguri, in its maternity ward around 7 pm yesterday. At 10.20 pm, she delivered a baby.
Trouble started this morning when the mother found the baby was a girl child. She claimed that attendants at the hospital had told her the night before that she had given birth to a son.
“While at night they said I have given birth to a male baby in the morning I saw a girl child lying in the cot. I am sure that my baby has been changed,” said the mother.
Her claims received vociferous support from husband Tarun who arrived at the hospital this morning with relatives and neighbours.
“We suspect that our baby has been changed and a section of the hospital staff and casual attendants is involved in this incident,” said Roy. He also lodged a complaint to this effect at the Kotwali police station.
As the altercation continued, words gave way to blows and hospital superintendent S.C. Bhowmik reached the spot to intervene. Police were called in and five persons, including Tarun, have been detained for disturbing the peace at the hospital.
“The allegations are totally baseless as the hospital register shows that there has been only one delivery last night and the new born girl belongs to the complainant,” Bhowmik said.
“We have thus decided to collect blood samples from the baby and the mother and go for a DNA examination to prove conclusively that there had been no incident of replacement. Until then, we will not discharge the duo,” he added. He also lodged a counter complaint with the police bringing in charges against those who had allegedly created a ruckus at the hospital.
The police officials confirmed that they had scrutinised the register at the hospital and found that it corroborates Bhowmik’s account.
“Even though it appears that there had been no such incident of baby swapping at the hospital we are still investigating the case,” said Tapas Das, the additional superintendent of police of Jalpaiguri.