Unsigned letter says child welfare authorities assisted in cover-up over Anupama's baby

The letter says that the baby was surrendered around 12.30 am on October 23, 2020.
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An unsigned letter written to the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM) State Secretary A Vijayaraghavan, purportedly by staff members at the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW), alleges that the baby was not abandoned in the cradle scheme as claimed by Anupama's father and other authorities, but was surrendered illegally by Anupama's parents. The letter says that the baby was surrendered around 12.30 am on October 23. Anupama's father N Jayachandran is a CPI(M) local leader. It is to be noted that a child with biological parents cannot be surrendered and put up for adoption in this manner.

Anupama gave birth to a baby boy on October 19, 2020. Her parents took the baby away three days later, promising to give him back after Anupama's sister's wedding. It was a few months later that Anupama was told that she would not get her baby back as he had been given away for adoption. The letter alleges that KSCCW General Secretary Shiju Khan helped Anupama's parents surrender the baby and then made it look like the baby was abandoned in the cradle. The letter also mentions that Ammathotthil or the cradle managed by KSCCW was not even functioning in October 2020. The letter says that another baby who was actually abandoned on October 22 was placed outside the cradle as it was not working.

The letter claims that it is from Shiju Khan's subordinates, but they were scared to reveal their identities as there would be repercussions.

It alleges that Jayachandran, his wife Smitha James and another local party leader from Peroorkkada reached in the night to hand over the baby. Those who wrote the letter also demanded that the CPI(M) and the government should probe why there was a hurry to put up the baby for adoption and why Anupama was fooled by the CWC, which conducted a DNA test on the other baby.

The letter also states that the gender of the baby was intentionally mentioned incorrectly in advertisements in the next day's newspaper to mislead Anupama. It rejected the CWC version that the gender change in the advertisement was a mistake.

As per the letter, though the baby was surrendered by its grandparents, it was made to look like it was abandonment and child welfare authorities were unaware of who abandoned the child.

To surrender a child with CWC, there are certain procedures to be followed.

The order for surrender should be issued by CWC and the child should be kept in the State Adoption Agency only if they have these documents:

1. Original surrender document

2. Interview of the parent recorded by CWC

3. Statement of biological mother for surrendering the child

4. Affidavits of witnesses

5. Order of admission into the licensed adoption and placement agency or specialised adoption agency

"A surrendered baby shall be given a legally safe adoption certificate (LSA) only if the mother signs the paper. Someone else taking away a child from the biological mother without her consent and surrendering him is illegal," Advocate M Manikandan, former Chairman of CWC in Malappuram, told TNM.

On October 26, Tuesday, when opposition MLA KK Rema moved an adjournment motion in the Kerala Assembly over the issue, Health and Family Welfare Minister Veena George declared that the baby was abandoned in the electronic cradle. The Minister claimed that the whole process of adoption was legal. But with more evidence emerging that the version presented by the two child welfare agencies is part of a cover-up, it remains to be seen if the government will act against them.

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