Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hospital baby-lifting: In search of the lost children:

Hospital baby-lifting: In search of the lost children

Published: Sunday, Oct 28, 2012, 2:02 IST
By Santosh Andhale | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

For the last ten years, Prakash Chauhan, 32, and his wife Vidya, 29, have celebrated the birthday of their child on January 12. But their child is not present, for the couple lost their baby boy two days after he was born, at JJ Hospital in 2003. The child went missing from the maternity ward and though a police complaint was filed, nothing came of it. The couple, who live in Dongri with their two children, remain hopeful that one day, their child will return home.
Four years ago, Mohini Nerurkar’s three-day-old baby was stolen from Sion Hospital. The Nerurkars are still fighting with the hospital administration in the hope of being reunited with their child. This week, Jasmin Naik’s day-old boy was kidnapped from theNowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital.
“When your child is kidnapped, you always hope that maybe your child is alive and will return home. On this hope, the family passes its days,” says Vidya, who works as a computer operator in a private firm. “You can’t concentrate on work or anything else, because your thoughts are always on your child. Where is he? What is he doing? Is he safe or not?”
Vidya hopes that the government implements rules and regulations for maternity wards which would be implemented strictly. “Most baby kidnappings happen in government-run and civic-run hospitals,” she says. “They should implement rules such as compulsory 24-hour security outside the ward, and only allowing relatives inside the ward.”
Dr Yusuf Matheswala, a senior psychiatrist at Masina Hospital says that a family in such a situation would be in urgent need of counselling and psychological therapy. “When there is a death, after a period of time the family returns to its usual routines. But in such a situation, when the baby has been stolen, the mother is unable to accept reality, and continue to hope that the child will return. Their lives are completely disturbed.”
Prakash and Vidya had their second child two years after their first-born was taken from them. Despite their past experiences, Vidya insisted on delivering her second child at JJ Hospital. Their son Jitesh is now in the third standard, and his parents watch over him anxiously.
“Our first son, Aditya, would have been ten in January,” says Prakash. “We don’t know where he is, but we pray that god will take care of our child.”
Prakash is unable to understand how such incidents happen repeatedly. “Why don’t the state and the BMC take strong security measures? If the authorities had taken strict action in our case, maybe another child would not have been stolen.”
Slums, shrines on police radar
In their latest move towards getting leads in the kidnapping case of the one-day-old baby from Nowrosjee Wadia Hospital on Thursday, the police have asked their informants to keep a close tab in the neighbouring slum areas. Police suspect that the accused woman might have taken the child back to her home.
“Because of the close proximity in slums, neighbours know when someone visits a nearby home. If the woman was a resident and took the child home even for a few hours, it won’t be difficult to track her down,” said an officer from the crime branch.
Police teams have also been sent to important shrines in Maharashtra to check if the child has been sold off to any beggars’ gangs.
The police suspect that the accused woman is from western Gujarat. “Most of the cleaning staff in Wadia Hosptial are from this community. We are in the process of questioning some of the hospital workers,” said the police official.
—Little Yadav

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