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Kerala: A mother's search for her missing baby in India

November 24, 2021 3:59 pm
[Source: BBC]

A mother’s search for a missing baby in India has caused outrage and whipped up a political storm. Soutik Biswas and Ashraf Padanna report.

For more than two weeks now, a couple has been protesting outside an adoption agency in the southern state of Kerala, demanding the return of their missing child.

Amid pounding rains and under the glare of cameras, they have camped under a tarp on a thrumming thoroughfare in the capital, Thiruvananthapuram (formerly Trivandrum). When night falls, the couple retire to a Suzuki minivan, parked alongside the road.

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The woman holds up a placard, saying “Give me my baby”. She says her family gave away her child for adoption without her consent, an accusation that her father denies.

On 19 October last year, Anupama gave birth to a boy, weighing about 2kg (4.4 pounds), in a local hospital.

The 22-year-old activist had braved social stigma by having a child out of wedlock with her already-married boyfriend, Ajith Kumar Baby, 34, who worked as a public relations officer in a hospital.

The relationship and the pregnancy had whipped up a storm in the woman’s family.

Having a child out of wedlock is anathema in India. Making matters more fraught was the fact that Anupama belongs to a dominant caste compared to Ajith, who’s a Dalit (formerly untouchables), who languish at the bottom of India’s rigid caste hierarchy. Inter-caste and inter-faith marriages are frowned upon in India.

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