In 2016, the police busted a racket of sale of newborns at a private maternity home in Mysuru; 16 children were separated from caregivers
After almost a two-year-long struggle, the caregivers of three trafficked children were reunited with them following an order issued by a city court.
It was in September 2016 that the Mysuru district police busted a racket involving sale of newborns at a private maternity home in Mysuru and separated a total of sixteen children from their caregivers in different parts of Karnataka and Kerala.
In a ruling, welcomed as “path-breaking” by a section child rights’ activists, the Principal Senior Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court in Mysuru recently handed over to the caregivers the interim custody of three out of the sixteen trafficked children, who had been put up in different child care homes in Mysuru and the neighbouring Mandya district.
Of the sixteen trafficked children, one girl child died at a child care home in Mandya last year while two others were handed over to their biological mothers.
Principal Senior Chief Judicial Magistrate Subramanya’s ruling to hand over interim custody of three children to the caregivers without any condition comes amid clamour from a section of activists to reunite the children with their caregivers.
However, the ruling has been challenged by the Department of Women and Child Welfare. M.K. Kumaraswamy, in-charge Mysuru District Child Protection Officer, told The Hindu that an appeal had been filed in the court objecting to the court’s decision.
The Department of Women and Child Welfare and Mysuru District Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has been against handing over the trafficked children to the caregivers as it would amount to legalising the criminal action of sale and purchase of the children.
But, child rights activists like P.P. Baburaj, who has earlier served as member of Juvenile Justice Board of Mysuru, have taken a position that it is in the best interest of the children that they are handed to the caregivers for foster care. “The condition of the trafficked children separated from their caregivers is pathetic. Both the children and the caregivers are suffering,” he said.
While the CWC, before whom petitions had been filed by the caregivers, has so far refused to hand over the children to the custody of the caregivers, efforts had been made by the counsels of the caregivers to seek custody under foster care as provided in the Juvenile Justice Act 2015.
Though the CWC refused to honour the petitions, the caregivers had moved the court and secured visitation rights.
The trafficked children entrusted to their caregivers include a seven year old girl, who had been separated from Usha, another six-and-a-half year old girl separated from caregivers from Thrisshur in Kerala and a two year old boy, who was with caregivers in Dakshina Kannada.