The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Three too many to feed

Tamluk, Sept. 2: A wad of notes was more valuable to Raju Singh than a child.

He gave away his 21-day-old third son for Rs 10,000.

Doing sundry jobs like digging pits and erecting scaffoldings for creepers, 36-year-old Raju never earned more than Rs 800 a month.

“We did not want this child. But we also could not abandon him after it was born,” he said at Kamalpur village, about 120km from Calcutta.

Putul, his wife, was aware that it was not right to give away the baby. “But what could we do' We couldn’t even feed our first two sons or send them to school. We didn’t want another one to go through the same ordeal. What we have done is for his good. He will get to eat well there and the money will help all of us,” she said.

A neighbour told them that a couple from Kolaghat town was willing to pay money for their son. They took him away last week.

Raju described the couple as middle-class but clamped up when queried further.

“I don’t get work regularly. I was forced to send away my two other sons to their maternal grandparents,” he said after some time.

“We have asked the local police station to start a probe,” said East Midnapore police chief G.A. Srinivas.

Rabin, 9, and Rathin, 6, stay in neighbouring Hajrapota. “If we can look after the two of them, we could also support a third child. Our daughter sold off her baby without informing us,” said Putul’s mother Usha Maity.

Neighbour Rina Samanta, the contact person between Raju and the Kolaghat couple, said Rs 1,500 has been paid already. “The remaining Rs 8,500 will be deposited in the post office account in Putul’s name. The couple were willing to pay more, if required,” she said.

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