After 11 long helpless months, Anupama and Ajith were finally reunited with their baby Aidan on 24 November. But they are not calling off their fight just yet.
Anupama Chandran’s battle was not a simple one — she did not receive any help from the Kerala police, child welfare authorities, CPI(M) politicians or the government.
So, on the occasion of Human Rights Day, on 10 December, Anupama has decided to protest outside the Thiruvananthapuram Secretariat, demanding “action against those who did this injustice so that this doesn’t happen to another child.”
"I started this fight all alone to get my child back. But today we have exposed a larger issue in the adoption system; and now we have so many people to support us. We want a transparent process to ensure children are not trafficked; We want to highlight the fact that most of the officials in Child Welfare Committee (CWC) are not adequately qualified. If I have a problem I can scream and call for attention. But what can a child do?"Anupama Chandran to The Quint
‘Police and Court Trying to Protect Their Own'
Anupama had given birth to a baby boy on 19 October 2020 and the child was then given up for adoption by her parents without her consent. Anupama was unmarried during the time and her parents did not approve of her relationship with Ajith.
Anupama had alleged that her parents kidnapped her baby and gave him up for adoption through the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW) a year ago.
What made the case murky was that Anupama’s father Jayachandran, a CPI(M) leader took the child away and had him adopted with help from officials. She has alleged that various child welfare agencies helped her father.
A departmental inquiry report drafted by Women and Child Development Department Direction has revealed that the KSCCW and CWC committed gross violations during the adoption proceedings of her baby. It is suspected that the KSWCC erased a part of the report submitted on 11 August.
“The police and court are trying to protect their own people because if they acknowledge that there were lapses in the adoption procedure, then it would look bad for the department. The officials have been taunting us and pointing out at our mistakes only. Their main accusation was that we didn't file a police complaint initially. We are normal people who would go to the police only as last resort. We gave letters to the chief minister and commissioner hoping our plea will be heard. The entire state system is involved in this problem and this is an absolute shame,” she told The Quint.
The inquiry report will be submitted to Minister for Health and Family Welfare Veena George soon.
Amid Overflowing Love, a Father Who Still Objects
Anupama and Ajith’s phones have been buzzing constantly with calls and messages from media, well-wishers and political parties. But now, all that the couple wants to do is snuggle with their little Aidan at home.
“The officials who handle children don't seem to care about them but there is love overflowing from strangers. I’ve been getting so many calls but all I want to do now is be by his side always.”Anupama Chandran to The Quint
Anupama's partner Ajith told The Quint, “I want to be by my baby's side all the time. But I hardly get any time as I am still busy running around getting documents from the court and vaccination reports. But we are very happy that we are together as a family now.”
While Anupama's story triggered a wave of sympathy it has also been frowned upon, as it didn't abide by the moral codes prescribed by a society deeply entrenched in patriarchal ideas. Anupama's father has strongly objected to her bearing a baby out of wedlock with a married man.
"My father has not accepted us at all. He doesn't like the two of us living together. Because if he had softened, he would've come any time when we were protesting and told us where our child was. Many are trying to politicise the issue. But for me, this is a family issue that is also a social problem," she said.