Following a spate of violence in the state over fears of child abduction, the Government Hospital for Women and Children in Egmore will soon begin rolling out tags for mothers and children at the hospital.
According to a report in the Times of India, these tags are essentially devices worn around the baby's ankle that will set off a loud alarm if the child is moved beyond a particular radius.
The move appears to have been triggered by the brutal case of mob lynching from Tiruvannamalai district in Tamil Nadu that left the state in shock and disbelief. A family of five from Chennai, who had stopped their car at Polur to visit a temple, were assaulted, chased and attacked by a mob of 200 people. A 65 year-old woman, Rukmini, was killed in the violence.
However, the state health department had introduced electronic tagging of babies at the Goverment Rajaji Hospital in Madurai two years earlier, following a directive by a Madras High Court bench. The project has now been expanded to include Chennai.
In Tiruvannamalai, the villagers were overcome by paranoia and had reportedly thought that the women and her family were child kidnappers. In another such incident, a 30 year-old intellectually challenged man also met with the same fate at Thiruvallur.
According to the Times of India report, the child wear the device around its ankles while the mother or attender would wear it around her/ his neck. It would set of a loud alarm if the child got 50m away from the mother.
The chief of the hospital Dr TK Shanti Gunasingh, told the newspaper, “We have installed reusable radio frequency identification readers a little away from the main block. This will be the only route open to mothers and attenders who carry babies in and out of the building. The others will be blocked.”