Mother of infants arrested in Kerala – all because she ‘stole’ vessels from a cop 3 yrs ago

The 9-month-old twins have now been reunited with their mother, who is in police custody.
Mother of infants arrested in Kerala – all because she ‘stole’ vessels from a cop 3 yrs ago
Mother of infants arrested in Kerala – all because she ‘stole’ vessels from a cop 3 yrs ago
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The 9-month-old twins, who were sent to the Child Welfare Committee on Tuesday after passers-by saw them lying on a platform at Kozhikode railway station, have been reunited with their mother. Jaya, who is 23 years old, is currently in police custody after she was accused of stealing vessels from the house of former Assistant Commissioner Bhaskara Kurup in 2015.

However, the way the police handled the situation – from arresting the woman when she was on the way to the hospital with her sick babies, to not telling her husband anything and merely giving him a slip of paper with a phone number on it – has drawn activists’ ire.

It all started three years ago, when Jaya was accused of stealing vessels from the Assistant Commissioner’s house. The police were reportedly on the lookout for her for the last three years for stealing vessels. The same police force that is fighting allegations of custodial torture and beating up aggrieved relatives seeking justice.

On Monday, when Jaya and her husband, Manickyam, a manual scavenger, were in a government hospital in Tirur as one of the twins was sick. However, the police in the hospital spotted her, and without explaining anything to anyone, took her into custody.

They merely gave Manickyam a piece of paper with a phone number on it. A distraught Manickyam took the twins to the railway station and kept them on a platform, as he wandered around the station, helpless and crying.

It was here the twins caught the attention of the passers-by, who informed the railway police and ChildLine.

In the meantime, when Jaya was produced in court, where the police somehow failed to mention the fact she had with her two babies, one of whom was was running a temperature and had a cold, at the time of arrest.

This, says Sreela N Menon, member of the state Commission for Protection of Child Rights, could have potentially decided if Jaya would get bail, for theft is a cognisable and non-bailable offence.

“The police should have mentioned her children in the report and it’s highly important they do so. Only then, the magistrate will be able to decide if the children should be sent to the accused or not, and whether the accused should get bail or not. This assumes more importance here, for theft is a non-bailable offence,” she told TNM.

ChildLine took custody of the children on Tuesday, and the Child Rights Commission then stepped in to reunite the mother and the baby twins.

A former member of the Child Rights Commission told TNM that this isn’t the first time the police has acted this way.

“It’s not an isolated issue, but a common practice,” said J Sandhya, former member of the state Child Rights Commission. “There was a similar case some years ago when I was a member. Maybe the police don’t know what to do, and maybe they are doing it deliberately. The system needs to be changed. We can’t blame the magistrate for not knowing what to do, for how would the court be aware that she had a pair of twin babies at the time of arrest, unless they were specifically told so?”

PG Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of the Child Welfare Committee, said it was ‘cruel’ of the police to not tell the court she was with her sick babies at the time of her arrest. “If the police didn’t bring the matter to the notice of the court, it was an act of cruelty,” he said.

While Jaya is in custody of the kids, the police has not dropped the case against her. She has been remanded to 15 days of judicial custody.

Edited by Jyotsna Raman

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