Reunited with son, Anupama S. Chandran vows to fight for justice.

New Delhi: Anupama S. Chandran, the 22-year-old unwed mother in Kerala who got back her child after a bitter year-long lone struggle, has vowed to continue her fight. The next round will begin on 10 December, World Human Rights Day, and will continue till such time those responsible for snatching away her child just three days after birth and given for pre-adoption foster care without her and her partner Ajith Kumar’s permission. These include her own parents, both active CPM workers in state capital Thiruvananthapuram, Shiju Khan, general secretary of Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW), and N, Sunanda, Chairperson of Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
Anupama and Ajith were active members of the student and youth wings of the CPM. They had met and fallen in love while agitating for social justice under the banner of progressive Students Federation of India and the Democratic Youth Federation of India. The baby came along before they could formally legalise their relationship. As soon as Anupama’s parents got wind of her pregnancy, Ajith was expelled from DYFI and a smear campaign against him was unleashed by the ‘comrade trolling brigade’ in the social media. Duly, Anupama too was expelled from the SFI.
Anupama’s new born baby was taken away from her on the third day of her delivering the child by caesarean section in October 2020. The parents, both members of the ruling CPM, did not want the community to know of their daughter’s “illegitimate” child. They belong to higher strata of society than her child’s father, a Dalit Christian and a married man at the time when Anupama became pregnant. They told her the child was being handed over to the state child welfare authority for care and would be duly returned to her once she recovers. Instead, with the connivance of the party, the police, child welfare officials all of whom are members of the ruling CPM and even with the tacit support of the Chief Minister’s office, Anupama’s parents banished her seven-month old child to Andhra Pradesh where a childless teacher couple received their bundle of joy without knowing what was in store for them.
Had it not been for a Malayalam channel Asianet, Anupama’s travails and her fight for justice would not have come to light. It was after she personally appeared in front of the cameras that a stunned Kerala came to know of her plight. For, she had been knocking at every door available in front of her since April this year. “All were involved. Attempts were made to terminate the pregnancy. Though I was down with Covid-19 and helpless, they (parents) did not succeed in their attempts. While returning from delivery, they took away the baby… I wanted to be reunited with my baby. But they cheated me and handed over the child to the Child Welfare Council. They made fake documents after threatening me,” Anupama said.
Once Anupama aired her tear-jerking story on television and followed it up with a one-day protest fast in front of the State Secretariat, the police, the Child Welfare Committee, the party and the government swung into action. After a one-month drama, on last Wednesday, Anupama’s child given for adoption in Andhra Pradesh was brought back and handed over to her at a Family Court in State capital Thiruvananthapuram after the Child Welfare Committee informed the court that a DNA test had confirmed that the couple were the biological parents of the baby who was given away in a pre-adoption foster care to a couple in Andhra Pradesh without the consent of Anupama and Ajith.
After reuniting the child with the mother, it was said that a department–level enquiry conducted by the director of Women and Child Development Department had indicted the officials. “Initially it was said that the report had vindicated my charges and that there was proof against Shiju Khan wilfully violating rules to fast-track the adoption,” Anupama told newspersons at the Press Club in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday.
However, the district secretary of the CPM had contradicted this and said there was no such report that the party wouldn’t initiate any action against Shiju Khan. Shamelessly Khan himself has come out with a statement that his department would look into all aspects of the controversy regarding the adoption of Anupama’s child. Anupama now doubts whether the government would initiate disciplinary action against Shiju Khan and Sunanda. “Now some other reports have emerged saying that I had voluntarily signed on a notarised document that allowed the child to be taken away from me. This is a blatant lie…The minister Veena George herself now says that she has not seen the report. CPM secretary Aanavur Nagappan gives a clean chit to KSCCW and CWC. Even the chief minister has not said anything,” Anupama complained. It is in this context that Anupama has decided to take the fight further into the party den.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has not made any statement on the issue though he was present in the Assembly when the matter came up for a short discussion early this month. It is clear that he would not say anything against the actions of his comrades. Not that the chief minister and his party, CPM, are not aware of the enormity of the crime to take an infant from the mother without the latter’s permission. What the “party family” had done is no less than the honour killings enacted in north India. And the government stood silently while the crime was enacted. It is a shame on Kerala.
Here is a blatant case of politicisation of an elected government at the cost of an infant’s right to suckle its mother’s milk. The ruling communists seem to have forgotten about the umbilical cord that connects the child with the mother. The government is obviously trying to delay any decision hoping that the issue would fade away in time as was the case with so many other instances in the past.
Who will account for the refusal of the police to file an FIR of the complaint, the blatant disregard of child welfare bodies to its duties, the connivance in the crime of the political party in which both the parents believed, and above all the criminal silence of the chief minister to the cry of a mother in search of her child. Where will the parents, who had betrayed their own daughter, hide their face?