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Kerala Adoption Row: How a Young Mother Fought for Her Baby against All Odds, and Won

The unusual case of a fight for a baby by her young mother from Kerala for over seven months has drawn considerable attention for various reasons. The fact that the baby was born out of wedlock and its father was married to another woman complicated matters. However, the baby, which the mother lost on the third day after delivery, returned to her after one year and a month following an unprecedented fight against all odds.

The family

Anupama S Chandran, 22, is the daughter of CPI(M) local leaders PS Jayachandran, a local committee member, and Smitha James, a party member in Thiruvananthapuram. Jayachandran is the son of CPI(M) leaders Peroorkada Sadasivan and Lalitha Sadasivan. Anupama was a leader of SFI and a member of the DYFI, feeder organisations of CPI(M). As a member of a prominent communist family and a promising young leader, Anupama’s name was in consideration as a candidate for their local ward in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation Council.

Ajith Kumar, 35, was a local leader of the CPI(M) and the area committee secretary of DYFI, where Anupama was a member. He was married to a woman called Naziya.

Here’s what transpired in the case:

August 2020: Jayachandran’s family comes to know that Anupama is pregnant in a relationship with Ajith Kumar who is married to Nazia.

September 2020: Ajith Kumar is expelled from the party.

October 19, 2020: As per the complaint filed at Peroorkada Police Station, a child was born to Anupama on October 19, 2020.

October 22, 2020: Since the baby was born out of wedlock, her family had tried to cover up the same and decided to take away the child, stated the complaint by Anupama. It said the baby was taken away by her father and other relatives. According to the complaint, Anupama’s relatives had promised her that the baby would be brought back once her elder sister got married. However, even after the marriage, the baby was not brought back.

The family placed the child in ‘Ammathottil’, the electronic cradle in front of the Kerala State Sisu Kshema Samithi (Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW)) headquarters at Thycaud. Jayachandran said he handed over the baby to the Samithi with her consent as she was not capable of taking care of the baby at that time. He added that they had obtained a consent letter, attested by the notary, from her before taking the child.

January 2021: Ajith Kumar gets a divorce from Nazia.

February 2021: Anupama’s elder sister gets married.

March 2021: Anupama starts living together with Ajith Kumar and she is expelled from the party.

April 19, 2021: Anupama and Ajith Kumar file a complaint in Peroorkada police station in Thiruvananthapuram, saying their baby was allegedly kidnapped from her by close family members, including her parents.

April 2021: Anupama and Ajith Kumar, through a video call, demand the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) find her baby.

April 29, 2021: Anupama’s complaint to state DGP.

May 2021: Complaint reaches commissioner’s office.

May 2021: Peroorkkada police register Anupama’s complaint.

July 2021: Details of the baby are uploaded to the website of the Central Adoption Resources Authority for adoption purposes.

August 7, 2021: A five-member committee on adoption decides to give the baby to an Andhra couple temporarily.

August 11, 2021: Anupama reaches the KSCCW in search of the child. She finds a child and applies to the Child Welfare Committee for a DNA test.

September 30, 2021: DNA test of the child conducted.

October 7, 2021: Results of the DNA test find that it is not Anupama’s child.

October 14, 2021: A television channel airs the story and conducts a debate on the issue.

October 15, 2021: Anupma speaks to the media on the matter.

October 18, 2021: The police were reportedly forced to register a case, six months after the complaint was filed as the incident triggered a controversy following the media reports. According to the police, a kidnapping case under section 461 of IPC has been registered against Anupama’s parents and four others and search operations are on to find the baby.

October 21, 2021: State Women’s commission files a case in the matter.

November 8, 2021: Kerala HC turns down Anupama’s habeas corpus plea. A bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran were of the view that there was no reason to entertain the habeas corpus plea moved by Anupama as a family court was seized of the matter and the baby was present with a couple, the adoptive parents, in Andhra Pradesh.

November 11, 2021: Anupama and Ajith Kumar start indefinite Satyagraha in front of the KSCCW.

November 18, 2021: The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) orders to bring the child from Andhra Pradesh to Kerala for a DNA test in five days.

November 21, 2021: The child was brought to Thiruvananthapuram from Vijayawada.

November 22, 2021: DNA samples collected from Anupama, Ajith Kumar and the child.

November 23, 2021: DNA results out in favour of Anupama and Ajith Kumar as the baby’s biological parents.

November 24, 2021: A family court in Thiruvananthapuram awards the baby to Anupma and Ajith Kumar.

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