Newborn found abandoned in autorickshaw

On the night of June 23, an autorickshaw driver arrived at the Medical College police station and handed over an infant to the duty officer. On June 28, the police arrested the infant’s mother and her husband on the charge “abandoning a child” under section 317 of the Indian Penal Code.

Sub-Inspector, Medical College, P. Shajimon, said the 29-year-old woman had a sad tale to tell the investigators. She had conceived the child out of wedlock when her husband, an accused in several petty cases, was in prison.

She lived in her husband’s house in a slum colony in Kollam district along with her 12-year-old son and ageing mother-in-law. The child’s natural father was her neighbour.

Her attempts to abort her pregnancy, with the help of quacks who prescribed certain herbs, had come to naught. She delivered the baby at the SAT hospital on June 22. She told the police that she had reluctantly abandoned her child at the instance of her husband and mother-in-law. She was also compelled by a need to protect her family’s reputation.

The autorickshaw driver had found the child abandoned in the small space between the passenger seat and the vehicle’s rear window. The infant was cocooned in a downy bedspread and sported a nightcap.

The driver told the police that sometime earlier, a couple accompanying an aged woman had waved down his cab at Ulloor and demanded they be dropped at Kesavadasapuram.

While returning to the autorickshaw stand at Kesavadasapuram, he heard an infant’s gurgle followed by a bout of high pitched wailing, and discovered the infant in the vehicle’s rear. The police handed over the infant to the SAT hospital.

SAT hospital officials said the child, weighing 2.3 kg, was under their care at the facility’s nursery for newborns. The baby, approximately seven-days-old, was active and showed a hearty appetite, hospital authorities said. The infant’s umbilicus was yet to heal fully.

The police verified the addresses of women who had recently delivered at SAT and nearby private hospitals.

Investigators visited their houses, talked to the mothers and saw their babies for themselves. Only four addresses of recently delivered women were untraceable. One of the “untraceable addressees” had given her mobile phone number to a SAT staffer. Investigators attempted to contact the woman on phone and failed. They then sought the call record details of the connection.

A police official said the woman was stressed and traumatised when investigators confronted her.

Remanded

They produced her and her husband before the court and remanded them in judicial custody for a period of 14 days. Assistant Commissioner K.S. Vimal and Circle Inspector A. Pramod Kumar supervised the investigation.