She lay hunched on her belly. Tiny hands and feet digging into the earth. Dried leaves and dirt sticking to her tender skin, cries renting the air. Yet another abandoned girl child. Yet another new-born baby in a garbage dump.
But, there’s a happy ending to this story – we hope.
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Indian Tweep @ACJangid7 posted in Hindi on June 12: “I don’t know when or where these pictures are from? But, where it is. It is a stigma in the name of humanity. The person who has discarded his flower-like baby as soon as she was born on a pile pf garbage, with no mercy for his own blood, how much lower will you fall? Please spare these babies!!”
It was a heart-rending video of the baby. That touched a chord and India’s social media reacted. People were shocked at the utter callousness displayed.
@Ramandeep_Bajwa wrote: ”We always read about newly born girls being abandoned. This is how they look when the monsters who gave them birth so carelessly throw them away as if they were garbage. Just one thought comes to mind: may such monsters never find peace and burn in hell forever!”
Manish @_maniev tweeted: “A lot needs to be done in the backward areas like Rajasthan where still the male child is preferred over the girl, the educated locals and especially the teachers should play the role of educating the people.”
Dilshad Khan @Dilshad10041990 tweeted: “Humanity is dying?”
Among those voices of fury, there was another voice – a plea.
Filmmaker and journalist @Vinodkapri tweeted on June 13, close to midnight: “Cannot bear to hear this child’s screams anymore. Does anybody have any details? We would like to make her a part of our lives.” He tagged his wife @SakshiJoshi, another journalist.
Members of the news fraternity came to the rescue and helped the couple track down the baby. She was found in JLN Hospital, Nagaur, Rajasthan.
The doctors were keeping track of her vital signs, but nobody had come to claim her.
People were touched by the couple’s decision and shared their support.
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Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana @ayushmannk tweeted: “@vinodkapri @sakshijoshii Thanks for restoring faith in humanity. God bless you guys!”
Kashmir-based journalist Shuja ul haq @ShujaUH posted: “From being abandoned just after being born to finding new parents in a distant land. What a wonderful story. @vinodkapri and @sakshijoshii you two are such an inspiration. Here is wishing you two a great parenthood.”
Now started an uphill task for the couple, who kept everybody updated via their tweets. They wanted to adopt her.
The Central Adoption Resource Authority (Cara) is a statutory body of the Indian Ministry of Women and Child Development. It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and primarily deals with orphans, abandoned and surrendered children. And, has a poor track record.
@vinod Kapri wrote: “I do not think that a big day has come in life since June 14 or will ever come - when only this feeling is full of that this lovely baby girl is coming in. We realise that the adoption process in the country is complex and long. But hope it is that you will overcome the difficulties and love of people and everybody will come home.
“She is safe now and recovering. Please keep praying for her. Thanks a million to the Doctors of JLN Hospital, Nagaur, Rajasthan. We are checking adoption process. Thanks to all of you for being part of this special journey.”
But, it is proving to be a tough task, which is further infuriating social media users.
Ginny @rumilife0612 posted: “@vinodkapri @smritiirani Sick people can flush a child down the toilet, throw a baby into a garbage bin, strangle him/her, no laws or committees, sanction and rules required for it but the moment someone wants to give a child a better life these laws and procedures kick in which drag on for years, regrettable and sad.”
Child abandonment is punishable under section 317 of India’s Penal Code. But, international news media reported that as of 2016, apparently “90 per cent of the 11 million abandoned babies in India are girls and …in Rajasthan 674 children were abandoned between 2007 and 2011”.
The Business Standard wrote that according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), India has 29.6 million orphaned and abandoned children. “However, in disconcerting figures provided by Childline India Foundation (CIF) supported by the [Indian] Women and Child Development Ministry showed that in 2017, of these 30 million children (which is most likely an under-reported figure), there were only 470,000 children in institutionalised care. And of these roughly half a million children, only a fraction finds its way into family care because adoption rates in India are abysmally low. This means that there needs to be a huge readjustment in the government’s focus on child development because currently millions of children are being wasted and denied a future of opportunities to realise themselves.”
Tweep Tamal Das @AskTamal wrote: ”@priyankac19 @sakshijoshii @vinodkapri ….If you go to Cara portal, the only legal way to adopt child in India, you will see thousands of willing parents waiting for adoption for more than one or one and half years. At the same time so many child are waiting for. Please.”
This was on Friday. On Saturday, @VindoKapri tweeted: “Thanks for your wishes. Tough road ahead. But we are trying our best of leaving no stone unturned. We have been told that breaking the Cara queue for adoption is difficult. But we are hopeful. So on our way to Nagaur hospital.”
They finally met her, and it was love at first sight.
Forty six-year-old Vinod Kapri, won the Indian National Award for a documentary film in 2014. He made his feature film debut with Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho (2015), while his second movie Pihu has been widely acclaimed in International film festivals. It is a film with only one cast member – a two-year-old toddler. The Kapris have named their daughter-to-be ‘Pihu’.
Earlier today, he tweeted: “Till yesterday, this angel had the tag of “Unknown”… Till yesterday she was UNKNOWN in hospital records, but now she has a name : PIHU. #HappyFathersDay. @sakshijoshii”
This was followed by a post from his wife @sakshijoshi: “This is final post from me.The whole Kapri family is dying to have her in the family. We will try our BEST to adopt her as per rules and guidelines. The whole Thanks a lot for all your love and support #HappyFathersDay”
On Sunday, Jun 24, Vinod Kapri tweeted that the adoption process had finally started.