Five days after Shankaramma gave birth to her daughter, the hospital discharged her and told her to not ask questions and go home without the child.

I held her only 5 times Karnataka mom relieved as CBI probe ordered on missing baby
news Crime Tuesday, January 09, 2018 - 18:47

For over a year now, 35-year-old Shankaramma from Karnataka’s Bagalakote district has been running from pillar to post to bring her baby back home.

On 9 November, 2016, she gave birth to a baby girl, but five days later, Kathari Nursing Home and Multispecialty Hospital, in Bagalakote’s Ilkal, allegedly refused to hand over the child and told her to go home. According to Shankaramma, when she asked them where her baby was, they refused to tell her. Ever since then, she has tried every possible course to bring the child back home.

On Monday, the Dharwad bench of the Karnataka High Court ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the case of the missing baby.

“My baby girl was so beautiful. She was the prettiest baby I’ve ever seen. I was in the ICU after the delivery for five days and, on the sixth day, they shifted me to the general ward. I’ve only ever held my baby five times. I had even thought of naming her Pratiksha. My husband and I had decided to hold a function for her as well. After the fifth day, the hospital staff never let me touch my baby. When they were discharging me, I asked them where my baby is. They just told me to shut up and go home. They did not tell me what happened to my little girl,” Shankaramma told TNM.

As soon as she was discharged from hospital, Shankaramma approached the Hungunda Police Station to register a complaint.

“The police there refused to register an FIR. The hospital had snatched my baby from me and even the police were not willing to take up the issue. I felt so helpless at the time. I went back to the hospital and begged them to give me my baby. The hospital staff took away my reports and told me that they will tell the police that I never went to the hospital for child birth in the first place,” Shankaramma said.

But this did not deter Shankaramma. Every day, for two months, she visited the hospital and begged the staff to return her baby.

“They told me that my baby was dead. When I asked them to show me her body, they just told me to leave. They kept changing their story. Once they said she was dead, then they said she was not dead and that she has been sent to another hospital for treatment. They just refused to show me my baby. They put me through a lot of mental torture,” Shankaramma said.

In February 2017, Shankaramma, along with representatives of the Dalit Sangharshana Samiti, visited the Bagalakote Superintendent of Police Ryshyanth and submitted a copy of the complaint.

“That was when the SP ordered the jurisdictional police to register an FIR. But instead of registering a missing person’s complaint and one against the hospital, the Hungunda Police registered an FIR for criminal intimidation. There was nothing mentioned about the hospital or the missing baby in it. Shankaramma sells lemons for a living, she is not literate and the police have taken advantage of her. She did not realise that they had registered a wrong FIR,” said Havargi, Shankaramma’s lawyer.

It was only in July 2017 that Shankaramma realized what sections the FIR was registered under. Enraged, she decided to take up the matter with the Karnataka High Court.

On July 25, 2017, Shankaramma filed a habeas corpus petition with the Dharwad bench of the Karnataka High Court stating that her baby had been missing since November 2016 and that the police had not helped locate the child.

The High Court had ordered the Additional Superintendent of Police to conduct a probe into the matter. On Monday, the court reprimanded the ASP and ordered a CBI probe into the matter.

The hospital and the police refused to comment on the matter.

“I hope someone takes up my problem seriously. I have not seen my baby for over a year. I only held my baby a handful of times. I have never got to watch her grow. I just want my baby back. I hope the CBI conducts a proper investigation,” said Shankaramma.