A case of adoption has turned into a political slugfest in the State of Kerala and put Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan under the spotlight. A 23-year-old woman by the name of Anupama S Chandran had alleged that her parents gave away her 1-year-old child for adoption without her consent.
As per reports, the father of the child is a ‘Dalit-Christian’ man named Ajith. Anupama had claimed that her parents were against her marriage to Ajith due to their prejudice against Dalits. In their defence, the woman’s family informed that Ajith was already married at that time and was yet to get divorced from his estranged wife. Nevertheless, the child was born out of wedlock, which became the bone of contention between Anupama and her parents.
The woman alleged that her father S Jayachandran handed over the infant, who was born in October 2020, to an orphanage run by Kerala State Council for Child Welfare in Thiruvananthapuram. Anupama claimed that the orphanage bypassed adoption rules and gave away her child to foster parents in Andhra Pradesh in August this year, without seeking her consent. The matter came to light on October 20, 2021, when Anupama filed a complaint with the police and a First Information Report (FIR) was registered in the case.
Anupama signed adoption papers but under ‘duress’, KCWC intervenes
A total of 6 people, including the girl’s parents were booked by the cops. Jayachandran had claimed that the infant was shifted to the orphanage with the consent of his daughter. He added that Anupama had signed on stamp paper confirming the same. However, the woman had refuted the claims and said that she was forced to sign under duress. Forced by circumstances, Anupama filed a petition before a quasi-judicial body, Kerala Child Welfare Committee (KCWC).
KCWC directed authorities to produce the ‘adopted child’ within 5 days and determine the biological parents of the infant through a DNA test. In line with its order, the foster parents of the child handed over the infant to a team of 3 Kerala police personnel and 3 officials of the Kerala Child Welfare Council. The foster parents reportedly expressed happiness after learning that the process to find the biological problems was underway. The child was brought to Kerala’s capital city on Sunday (November 21) evening.
Infant brought back to Thiruvananthapuram, DNA test to be conducted
The DNA test, to determine the biological parents, will be conducted on Monday (November 22). The Kerala Child Welfare Committee (KCWC) had directed a senior police official to ensure the safety of the infant until a final decision is reached. While speaking about the matter, Anupama said, “I am really relieved. Our six-month struggle evoked some results. But I have a reservation that same department officials who gave my baby for adoption flouting all norms were given charge of bringing him back.”
Kerala adoption row stirred political upheaval within CPI (M) ranks
The custodial issue has turned into a political one as Jayachandran is a senior leader CITU, the trade union wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Anupama was also a former leader of the Students’ Federation of India, the student wing of the Communist party. Reportedly, even the father of her child, Ajith, is also associated with the CPIM. It is believed that Jayachandran has exploited his political influence to flout adoption norms in cahoots with the orphanage authorities.
While the CPI(M) has maintained that it was a family issue, the silence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had been questioned. Anupama had expressed disappointment over his abject silence. “It seems the CM is misinformed. His continued silence pained me a lot,” she said. The woman had earlier approached CPI(M) politburo members in the hopes of securing the custody of her child. However, all her efforts were in vain.
It was at that point that Anupama decided to hit the streets. She sat on a fast outside the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare office. Earlier on November 14, she said, “I don’t have any other option than hitting the street. The party and government say they are with me but still, no help is forthcoming. And officials of the child welfare council are trying to complicate the issue further. I need my child back.”