Anupama S Chandran (23), former leader of the Students Federation of India (SFI), who accused her parents of kidnapping her newborn three days after delivery, began a fast before the state secretariat on Saturday seeking the return of her baby.
“It is a shame on Kerala. I need my baby,” holding a black placard she and her husband began their fast even as the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) tried its best to wean her away promising action. State health minister Veena George made a last-ditch effort after talking to her but Anupama said there is no going back.
“I am forced to the street. It is not a struggle against the party or government. It is a fight of a mother to get her baby back. No mother should undergo my plight,” she said just before the fast began.
The poignant issue also triggered a division in the party. “No doubt, Anupama faced inhuman treatment. I wish authorities should have taken action by now,” said CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat in Delhi.
Another member MA Baby also said there will be strict action against those who perpetrated this “inhuman act” and government agencies which supported them. “We agree there are serious lapses. We are with the mother,” said Baby. Later, party acting secretary A Vijayaraghavan also said the party will support her. Though police registered a case on Tuesday under non-bailable provisions, no arrest has been made so far.
Anupama lodged a complaint with the police on April 19 and approached the CM and state police chief alleging that her relatives forcibly took away her baby and they feign ignorance now. She said police failed to take any action due to political pressure and she was forced to come out on media after all her attempts failed. She said since she went public, she even feared a threat to the baby’s life.
After the issue turned into a raging controversy, her father S Jayachandran, a senior leader of the CPI(M) trade union wing CITU, said since the baby was born out of wedlock they decided to shift to the government-run children’s home in the state capital with the consent of his daughter. He said she signed on stamp paper but Anupama later said she signed under duress. She said her parents opposed her relations with her husband Ajith since he belonged to a Dalit family.
What is shocking is that the baby could not be traced and there are reports that it was given for adoption without meeting prescribed rules and regulations for adoption. And the father reiterated that the party was aware of his decision and he consulted district leaders.
The opposition Congress and BJP have asked the government to constitute a probe and restore the baby to the mother. “It really shocked the conscience of the state but the party is still clinging on technicalities, dismissing it as a mere family issue,” said opposition leader VD Satheessan. “The party always don the role of a self-styled champion of rights. How can it deny the right of a mother? Left intellectuals who sign joint statements at a drop of a hat are silent now,” said BJP state president K Surendran.