Boy sold for dad’s last rites

Woman sells infant to childless couple for Rs 10,000 to pay for ‘shraadh’

By Giridhar Jha in Patna

IT WAS a classic tale of poverty, ritualism and desperation. The tragedy was it was areal- life story. Awoman in Bihar sold off her son to a childless couple so that she could perform her husband’s last rites and take care of her remaining two children.

But police intervened and arrested all three, as well as a middleman, before the shraadh (obsequies) could be performed to bring peace to his soul. A resident of Chhotki Nawada in Gaya, Sudha Devi lost her husband Raj Kumar Shah in a train accident a few days ago. Sudha, who works as a domestic help, found it difficult to feed her two sons and a daughter. Extreme poverty forced her to borrow money for Shah’s cremation.

She was approached by Noormani Surdas, avisually- challenged man from a neighbouring locality. Surdas and his wife offered to pay Sudha Rs 10,000 for her youngest son —who is one- and- a- half months old. Sudha initially hesitated, but agreed when the couple promised to take good care of the child and bring him up as their own.

She thought the deal would help her clear the debt, conduct her husband’s shraadh, and bring up her eight- year- old son and three- year- old daughter. All three reached the local court to legally adopt the child on Monday.

But before they could formalise the procedure, officials from the Civil Lines police station in Gaya took them into custody. Officer- in- charge Chandrashekhar Prasad Sinha said child trafficking was illegal and arrested Sudha, the couple and amiddleman, Mithilesh Prasad. Sinha said all of them were produced before the court of the chief judicial magistrate from where they were taken to alocal jail on Tuesday. Sudha confessed to having sold her child.

“Ineeded money to clear the debt and observe my husband’s shraadh ,” she said. Sudha said she had been finding it difficult to feed her children after her husband’s death. “Iagreed to give away my child because Ithought he would lead abetter life in his new home,” she said.

Surdas and his wife said they decided to adopt the child as they had none to turn to in their old age. “We thought it would help both families,” Surdas said.

Though the police action evoked asharp reaction from local residents, the officials lauded themselves for performing their duty.
giridhar. jha@ mailtoday. in

Child sold by a desperate mother

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One thought on “Child sold by a desperate mother

  1. This is the sad story of Indian governance. Down the ages, Indians have infamously upheld laws while not simultaneously solving social problems. What would have been a good solution for all concerned parties has become a disaster. The police have never succeeded in reducing crime, punishing criminals or restoring law and order. They only beat their chest on enforcing law and order in the case of helpless poor civilians. This is a classic case of cowardice by the Police. Sadly the media too does not point it out as such.

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