Orphaned Baby Girl Sold For Mother’s Shradh

The incident occurred last month in the Harendranagar Tea Estate in the Sadar subdivision of the West Tripura district. However, while persons such as Sudhamaya Majumdar, leader of the Durgabari Tea Estate Co-operative Union and vice-chairman of the Tripura Tea Development Corporation, confirm the selling of the baby, the police at the Sidhai police station, which would have had to look into the matter, are yet to receive a complaint.

Abandoned by her husband, Purni Garh, a labourer in the tea estate, had taken shelter in the shed of fellow workers Mohandas and his wife. According to his neighbours, Mohandas had borrowed Rs 900 from his friend Alauddin, a technician in the neighbouring Durgabari Tea Estate, for Purni’s treatment. Purni, however, died of malnutrition-related sickness after giving birth to a baby girl, subsequently christened Deepa. After Purni’s death, Mohandas, pressed to repay his debt finally offered to sell baby Deepa to Alauddin and his wife, who were childless, for an additional amount of Rs 1,100. Deepa was brought from Harendranagar Tea Estate to Alauddin’s house on May 22 and has been there since. People in the area, however, seem to be unwilling to take the case to the police. ”We must look at the whole incident from an humanitarian angle,” says Majumdar.

According to Mohandas, the money he got by selling baby Deepa would now be used to perform PurniĀ“s ‘shradh’. District Magistrate of West Tripura, Ashutosh Jindal, has meanwhile said he would look into the matter. “The Government can not allow such an act,” he said.

By Amit Rai Chaudhuri (newsfiledelhi@hotmail.com)