On Tuesday, a routine inspection by the central adoption resource authority in Chennai city revealed the alleged physical abuse of a four-year-old girl who was adopted in November. Officials found bruises on her cheeks, injuries on her hand and a branding mark on her left leg.
According to the sources in the Child Welfare Commission, the child's adoptive parents who are originally from West Bengal, moved to Chennai soon after the adoption. The family resided in Mandaveli; the father is a techie, and the mother is a homemaker. So far, the officials in the case say it is unclear whether she was abused by the parents.
"The child has multiple injuries and currently the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) is looking into the matter. The girl is currently in our care in a government home," the CWC source said. An officer from the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) was part of the team that made the visit to the residence to ensure the well-being of the child.
"As per the guidelines, Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is required to check on an adopted child within six months of the legal process. We can't tell right now if the parents were the abusers. We will have to wait for a report from the DCPU," he added.
However, the official didn't provide a stipulated time within which the report will be filed. And the local police said that a complaint is yet to be filed in the matter, and that they were merely informed about the case by Childline, a non governmental organisation.
"There is no case against the parents yet. Childline informed us about the incident but no official complaint has been filed," said a police official from the Abiramapuram station, "They will conduct the preliminary inquiry, summon parents, and give a complaint to the police based on their findings."
Too many cooks?
"This is a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth,‚ÄĚ says human rights lawyer Sudha Ramalingam, ‚ÄúThere are too many agencies involved in this issue and meanwhile the child is being institutionalised. Instead, they should be conducting the enquiry with the parents immediately to rule out their involvement, so that she is back to a protected household."
And if the parents are the abusers, the lawyer points out that the child should be moved to a comfortable setting.
"When there is a cognisable offence that has come to the police they should immediately file a complaint and start investigating the matter," she adds.
"She must talk only Bengali and is now stuck at a government home surrounded by people speaking a language she can't comprehend," says the lawyer, "How will the child even communicate any problem?"