Shankar, a daily wage worker, was shattered when his five-year-old son went missing five months ago. After a massive search, the boy was traced. It turned out he was being looked after by a sweeper at the Kempegowda Bus Station. Mr. Shankar’s joy, however, was short-lived as he didn’t expect a twist to the tale.
His son is now refusing to go with him, preferring instead to live with his new carer.
The heartbroken Mr. Shankar is in a bind as he has no papers to prove the boy is his son.
The Upparpet police and the child helpline members have housed the boy at the Government Home for Boys until the conundrum is resolved.
The child was living with his parents in a makeshift house at the City Railway Station premises when he went missing.
While Mr. Shankar is a daily wage worker at the Cantonment Railway Station, his wife Pramila works occasionally as a domestic help.
Spotted by sweeper
When the boy wandered off by himself, he was spotted by sweeper Venkatamma who took him to her house.
As news spread among neighbours, strangers started turning up at her doorstep with offers to “buy” the child. While some offered enticements, others claimed they were his parents.
A few even attempted to intimidate her into handing over the child.
Ms. Venkatamma, who by now had developed a close, emotional bond with the child, went to the Upparpet police with her tale. The police, instead of informing the child helpline, allowed her to take care of the boy until further orders.
News reaches father
Gradually the news spread, helped by the fact that Ms. Venkatamma was a popular figure in the bus stand’s vicinity.
It was only a matter of time before word reached Mr. Shankar too.
When he went to Ms. Venkatamma to claim his son, she wasn’t convinced, particularly as the child refused to go to Mr. Shankar. So she turned to the police again.
Except for an old photograph, Mr. Shankar does not have anything to prove that the boy is his son. To make matters worse, the child was born at home and there are no hospital records to back his claim.
The staff of the child helpline and the police finally decided to hand over the boy to the government home and have referred the case to the Child Welfare Committee for further action.
Keywords: Child Welfare Committee