It was just another Sunday for 25-year-old Rosario, a fresh graduate, and his friends Shanmugavel, Thangaraj, and Arun Pranav when they went for an evening walk in the Vellakalpatti area of Salem. As the men passed by a clearing near Dalmia Board, they heard soft wails. Assuming a puppy or kitten was in need of help, the men entered the bushy clearing, with light from their phone torches. The noise seemed to be coming from a plastic bag in a ditch below.
To their horror, they found a newborn baby girl there, struggling to breathe. But thanks to their quick thinking and humanity, the little girl was saved.
Speaking to TNM, Rozario explains the sequence of events: “We usually go for a walk in the area. We were passing by the place and we heard a noise. We thought it was a puppy or a kitten but then when we went and checked it was a baby. We were stunned and horrified. Even the umbilical cord had not been cut. A huge rock was placed on top of the bag. This broke the baby’s right leg and left hand.”
The men then called called their friends Prakash, Dhanush, Dharani and Mohan who helped them tear the bag to allow the baby to breathe.
While the Good Samaritans called the police immediately, they were asked to “administer the first aid that they knew.”
“We didn’t even know what to do. We found the baby at around 6.45 pm but the police came only at 8 pm. They told us to give first aid so we tried our best,” Rozario recounts.
Not wanting to further injure the baby, the men then made more breathing room for the baby using handkerchiefs. Unsure of how to provide first aid, they then quickly called a doctor they know, who then asked them to feed the baby some glucose or milk. They wrapped the baby in a clean towel and fed her some cow’s milk.
“It was raining very heavily that day. It stopped raining only after 5.30 pm. Only after that we could venture out. So when we saw the bag, it was fully drenched. Because it was polythene, the water thankfully didn’t enter the bag. And because it was covered by the rock, a dog didn’t touch it. Else a dog may have killed and eaten the child. We felt very bad for the baby,” says Rozario.
“There is a school nearby and beyond that point, not many people go. Had we been a few hours late, the baby could have died,” he says.
Soon after the police arrived, the baby was rushed to the hospital where the doctors informed them that the baby was barely a few hours old.
Speaking to TNM, one investigating police officer from the Suramangalam police station said, “The child has been admitted to the Salem GH. An investigation is on and a team has been formed to hunt for the culprits involved in dropping the baby there.”
The baby has reportedly been placed under the Cradle Baby Scheme of the government and is under treatment at the hospital.
“We have readily helped many people during accidents but because it was a baby, we were terrified. For the first time, we felt nervous and hesitant. But we got really upset and felt very bad. Our hearts are still beating for that child. So we decided to help right away,” Rozario says.
Rozario and his friends have grown attached to the child, even making frequent trips to the hospital. “Yesterday, when we went, they didn’t allow us in. But we protested. They finally allowed us to see the baby through a monitor. That’s when we were satisfied that the baby is safe and fine,” he says. The young men also plan to apply for special permission from the Dean of the hospital to visit the child.