| Nobody’s child: Two women bend for a close look at the baby. Picture by Dipankar Majumdar
Howrah, July 21: A newborn abandoned on the bank of the Hooghly lay for several hours this morning as local people looked on and two police stations fought over whose area the baby was in.
The girl was alive when people who take a dip in the river at Bimala Devi Ghat in Ghusuri saw her.
Residents trooped in to see the baby move its tiny limbs but washed their hands of the matter after calling up the Bally and Malipanchghara police stations.
“We saw the baby moving and realised it was alive. But we waited for the police. We didn’t realise that the police will take so long to come,” said Santosh Shaw, a local resident.
The police from Bally, only about 3km away, arrived four hours later. The baby had died by then. The body was taken to a hospital for post-mortem.
Malipanchghara police denied receiving any call informing them about the baby.
Three youths were among the first to see her on the road. One of them, Samir Sadhu- khan, said: “Some goons took away Rs 4,000, my watch, cellphone and some valuable pa- pers while I was returning home last night. Half an hour after the incident, I called up my number and when one of them responded, I requested him to return my papers. He told me they had thrown them away at the ghat. I went looking for the papers with two of my friends this morning.”
Not knowing which police station the area belonged to, the trio “immediately” rang up both Malipanchghara and Bally police stations.
“Nobody informed us about the baby. Moreover, that area is not under our jurisdiction,” said Rabindranath Chakraborty, the inspector in charge of Malipanchghara.
Bally police initially tried to dodge responsibility, saying the area was under Malipanchghara police station. Hours later, the officer there realised that the Ghusuri ghat was under his jurisdiction.
“It is Bally police station that took the baby to the hospital,” inspector-in-charge Asit Sau almost seemed to be bragging.
Sau failed to explain why it took his men four hours to reach Bimala Devi Ghat.
Several local people, who were happy being mere onlookers, said they were scared of police harassment.
“The police would have invariably tried to harass us by calling us to the police station at odd hours for questioning,” said one of them.
“They could have also accused me of bringing the baby there,” said another.