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Indulekha survives gutters and bandicoots

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IN SAFE HANDS: The abandoned infant at the Adoption Centre of the Government Child Welfare Council at Kodoor, near Malappuram, on Monday.
IN SAFE HANDS: The abandoned infant at the Adoption Centre of the Government Child Welfare Council at Kodoor, near Malappuram, on Monday.

Abdul Latheef Naha

Malappuram: She was in the news nearly two months ago. Found abandoned in a gutter at Mampatta near Pookottumpadam in Malappuram district just hours after her birth, this infant's early days depended not only on the care of the doctors and nurses of Nilambur Taluk Hospital but also on the prayers of the people who read shockingly about her.

She had been badly mauled by bandicoots. She lost one of her toes - left alone by her parents who threw her away unconscionably. Yet she survived the gutters and gained a birth certificate from the Amarambalam Grama Panchayat.

The certificate says she was born on June 8. The columns for her father and mother are marked `unknown'. The nurses who fondled her at the hospital called her Ammu.

On Monday, she was brought to the Child Welfare Council's Adoption Centre at Kodoor near Malappuram. M. Muraleedharan, paediatrician responsible for the health of the foundlings at the centre, gave her a new name - she will now be called Indulekha.

Cute and crying, Indulekha joined the company of eight other foundlings at the adoption centre. She is the youngest there. In days, said her `aya' Subhadra Kutty, Indulekha will get acclimatised to her new home.

Her new friends at the adoption centre - Hari (2.5 years), Unnikrishnan (2.5), Rahul (2.5), Mithun (2), Abhimanyu (8 months), Chaithanya (10), Archana (2), and Ajay (4) - looked curious at the arrival of Indulekha.

The other ayas - Nirmala, Rabiya, Hafsath and Shareefa - were also excited. Dr. Muraleedharan examined her thoroughly and said: "Midukki (smart)."

The adoption centre at Kodoor will be home for Indulekha, till she joins an adoptive family. Dr. Muraleedharan said she would be given the best medical care at the centre.

The centre facilitates adoption within the parameters stipulated by the country's adoption laws. Apart from the Kodur centre, the State Government runs a similar but larger centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

Parents with proven infertility record can approach the two adoption centres of the Government. They will have to undergo certain formalities, but they will be free to pick a child of their choice.

They will have to deposit an amount not less than Rs.25,000 in the child's name. The combined age of the adoptive father and mother should not cross 85.

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