The Telegraph
Thursday , May 22 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Parents send baby on parasailing ‘adventure’

- Extreme misuse and use of wings

Thiruvananthapuram, May 21: A young couple today fastened their 11-month-old daughter to the seat of a parachute and watched as it soared 100ft into the air, the terrified infant wailing all through the parasailing flight that her beaming parents called an “adventure”.

As television footage of the bawling baby alone in the parachute sent shockwaves across the state, the Kerala Human Rights Commission started legal proceedings on its own against the couple.

Sources in the commission said a case had been registered against the parents, Safrina and Mohammed Nizam, under the Juvenile Justice Act. “Prima facie it appears to be a case of cruelty towards the child,” the rights panel’s chief investigator said.

The incident took place at the famed drive-in beach at Muzhuppilangadi in Kannur district in the state’s north where a parasailing championship had been organised by Malabar Aero Sports Society, a local sports club. Among those who attended the event was the district’s superintendent of police.

TV footage showed the infant wailing even as her mother fastened her to a seat that hung from the chute. The chute then took off and flew for about half a minute before descending with the frightened baby still crying.

While many across the state criticised the parents for their “insensitivity”, the couple did not appear disturbed at all. “This is nothing big as is feared. We thought she would be able to do it and decided to give it a try. And she did it,” a beaming Safrina, the infant’s mother, told a TV channel.

Her husband, too, watched his daughter’s “adventurous” flight.

Safrina’s father, Zafar Mohammed, is the chief office-bearer of the sports society that organised the event.

Kannur SP P.N. Unniraja, who was among those invited to the event, said he was too far away from the spot to stop the flight. “The organisers had told some local journalists about their plan to use the child and we had specifically warned that we would register a case if anyone below 18 was allowed in a chute. But I was nowhere near the spot where it was happening,” the officer told The Telegraph.

The district collector has directed the police to register a case against the parents and the organisers of the event.

The chief investigator of the state human rights commission said the infant would be examined to check her mental health.

In April last year, the police in Thrissur, central Kerala, had arrested a businessman, Mohammed Nisham, for allowing his nine-year-old son to drive his Ferrari.

The police were alerted after a video of the boy driving the car on his ninth birthday, his five-year-old sibling in the passenger’s seat, went viral on the Net.

The businessman was later released on bail.