Prima facie evidence points to trafficking: official

Attempts by successive governments in the State to address the issue of child trafficking, especially of the girl child, appear to have failed to reach the backward pockets if recent reports are any indication.

Two incidents of baby girls from Kolipalya and Mookanapalya lambani tandas (settlements) in Punajanur Gram Panchayat being sold to childless couples in Tamil Nadu have recently been reported. Similar cases cropped up from Konchavaram of Gulbarga district in 2001.

Minister for Cooperation and district in-charge of Chamarajanagar H.S. Mahadeva Prasad told The Hindu that a team of officials had visited Erode and Coimbatore and brought back the children, who are now housed in Bapuji Children’s Home in Mysore. Mr. Mahadeva Prasad said cases have been booked against 10 persons, including the parents at Ramasamudra Police Station. Besides suspending anganwadi and ASHA workers, the Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat has also issued show-cause notices to Deputy Director, Department of Women and Child Development, and the Child Development Project Officer of the area.

When contacted, Deputy Director of Women and Child Development G. Basavaraj said prima facie evidence pointed to trafficking of girl babies. However, their parents were claiming that they had given the babies to their relatives as they could not afford to bring them up.

District Health Officer Pandu Vijayan said this has to be seen as a larger social issue and there was a need to create awareness in the community. Chandra Bai, member of the ZP who is also from the Lambani community, said her people live in abject poverty, without land or jobs. Additionally, there is huge social pressure on women to have a male child. “They won’t attempt to sell or kill their first two female babies, thanks to the Bhagyalakshmi scheme. When they give birth to the third baby girl, they have no other way but to agree to their husbands and their family members to sell or kill the girls,” she said.

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