(NEWS) Infant's death raises starvation issue

Infant's death raises starvation issue

KANPUR: Recently sold to safe hands and then forcibly returned to his penurious parents allegedly by the local administration in Banda, the perennially malnourished four-month-old Chandan finally passed away on Friday. The death of the infant once again epitomizes the unabated starvation deaths in the drought-hit Bundelkhand region and the callousness being maintained towards mitigating the crisis.

A rickshaw-puller, belonging to Kailashpuri colony of Banda town, Govind and his wife Geeta had recently sold their two sons Chandan (four-month-old) and Shankar (eight years) for Rs 2,000 each. Their motive was not only to earn money to meet their basic needs, but also to ensure life for their two sons. But the district administration and the police played villainous. Allegedly at the behest of the district administration on December 11, police arrested Chandan’s purchaser Raja Bhaiyya and Mayadin. The sold kids were handed over to their parents the next day only to see Chandan dying due to starvation.

"We kept on pleading that managing meals for the babies was not possible and let them be with their new guardians. But the police did not pay any heed to our pleas and returned them to us," lamented Govind, whose worst fears came true on Friday when his younger son died.

Govind said that his son had been sick since December 12, but there was nothing which he could offer him to eat.

Courtesy : TOI


Lucknow : A five-month-old infant, who was allegedly sold by his starving family, died in the poverty-ridden Banda district of Uttar Pradesh Saturday after the police returned him to his parents.

The local administration forced the "buyer" to return the child to his biological parents after an NDTV expose about "selling" the infant was telecast on December 10.

However, five-month old Chandan fell sick and died Saturday allegedly because he was undernourished.

Even though Banda district magistrate Ashok Kumar Mittal said the child died of "pneumonia", there was evidence to indicate that the death was triggered by starvation and poverty.

Mittal, who claims that Chandan was "never sold", but given away in "adoption", said: "The allegation that the child was sold is false; he was adopted by someone in the neighbourhood through a proper adoption deed. It was on a subsequent date that he died of pneumonia which was confirmed by the post-mortem report."

Significantly, Raja Ram, a local grocer who had reportedly "purchased" the child for Rs. 2,000 barely four months back, confessed on television that he had paid the money, despite the adoption formalities.

Chandan's father Govind is a rickshaw-puller. His wife, Geeta admitted on television that the family had earlier sold their other nine-year-old son Shankar to local farmer Bhuiyandeen Patel for Rs. 5,000.

Reacting to the TV story, the district magistrate had not only coerced both Patel and Raja Ram to return Govind's children to him, but also warned the poverty-stricken rickshaw-puller not to strike such a deal again.

The local police also provided Govind with 25 kg of wheat flour, 2 kg of dal and a bottle of cooking oil.

"Even if the food provided by the administration lasted more than a few days, where would I get the medicines from," a sobbing Govind told mediapersons in Kailashpuri locality of Banda.

Admitting that Chandan died in the absence of proper treatment, the father said, "where do I have the money to buy medicines; I was depending on treatment at home."

Mittal who is not willing to admit that it was actually a case of abject poverty, told IANS over telephone, "Well the child's father never approached us for treatment, otherwise we would have arranged for free treatment in the Tehj Government Hospital here."

Courtesy: IANS