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Impoverished Odisha woman refuses to own her baby

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, Apr 2:

Hit hard by abject poverty and abandonment, a mother of five minors in western Odisha town of Sambalpur was forced to ‘donate’ her newborn a week ago following which the district administration has summoned those involved in the ‘baby sale’.

childWhile reports say Sabita Behera has allegedly sold her 11-day-old baby boy to a couple from Jajpur Road for a paltry sum of Rs 2000 and a sack of rice, the woman claims she has donated her offspring to a moderately rich family as she won’t be able to feed him.

The district administration has asked Sabita to submit a surrender deed before the CWC today mentioning that she doesn’t have any right over the child.

Notably, Sabita had handed over the newborn to a couple–Seikh Adijur Rehman and Sajda Rehman—from Jajpur Road on March 26 just three days after her delivery.

Subsequent to furnishing of the deed, the child can be adopted as per the adoption provisions, said DCPO Suchismita Patnaik.

On the other hand, legal action against Adijur, Sajda and middleman has been initiated for keeping the baby without conforming to the legal formalities.

Meanwhile, the Collector Balbant Singh has directed the district administration officials to study the financial condition of Sabita.

As per the instructions, Sub Collector Bimalendu Ray and DCPO Suchismita Patnaik would go for an inspection to ascertain the financial status of the straitened woman.

Based on the investigation, we would extend all possible help to Sabita’s family according to government schemes.

It may be mentioned here that the woman was deserted by her husband after which she has been living in a ramshackle house at Gountiapada under Sunapalli in the city with her four minor children, including three girls and a boy– Dolly (15), Hirabati (13) and Srikant (4) and Jyotsna (3) since last six months.

On March 23, she had given birth to a baby boy and a local resident had advised her to sell off the baby. After a deal was struck between the woman and the middleman, the latter brought a couple from Jajpur on March 26 who took the baby with them.

After the incident of alleged baby sale came to the light, the district child welfare committee (CWC) summoned the couple and Sabita to appear before it following which they emerged before it yesterday.

However, the biological mother of the baby refused to accept her child claiming that he would die a premature death in the absence of proper care and nourishment.

“The newborn would have died without proper food and nourishment in my custody. In order to save his life, I decided to donate it to somebody else after much deliberation,” Sabita said.

Considering the distressed condition of the woman, the Committee directed the officials to admit the baby to Special New Born Care Unit (SNCU) for proper care.

As per sources, the baby would be shifted to a city-based centre, Rukmini Lath Bal Niketan, for proper care.