New Delhi: A battered two-year-old baby is fighting for her life in the intensive care unit of Delhi's AIIMS hospital. As the nation watches a heart-rending story unfold in shock and horror, here are 10 facts about the child we now know as baby Falak.
1) Who is baby Falak?
A two-year-old baby was brought to Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on January 18 with severe head injuries, fractured arms and human bite marks all over her. A minor girl who brought her to the hospital reportedly told doctors that the baby had fallen from her bed, but doctors said that claim did not match with the injuries seen on the child's body. The child is fighting for her life ever since in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. She has been named Falak, or sky, by the staff looking after her.
2) What is baby Falak suffering from?
Doctors monitoring the two-year-old say she is a victim of the "battered baby syndrome" and is likely to have been abused by a close relative. They say that though they see many cases of child trauma brought to the Emergency at AIIMS, a case of a young baby being willfully battered this way is rare in India.
"This is the trauma centre," said Dr Sumit Sinha at Delhi's AIIMS hospital. "We see bad cases on a daily basis. But I have never seen this kind of a 'battered baby condition... with the intention of injury."
The "battered baby syndrome" has been reported more in Western countries, say the doctors.
3) What is baby Falak's medical condition?
She has had two cardiac arrests, but the latest medical bulletin from AIIMS says that baby Falak is fighting hard. Despite her severe injuries, doctors say she has improved today; they report some voluntary movement and she is said to be off ventilator support for now. Doctors had earlier today given her a 30-40 per cent chance of survival. They say there is likely brain damage; her head injuries could be a result of being dashed against a wall, they say.
4) Who brought Falak to AIIMS?
The baby was brought to AIIMS by a 15-year old girl, who initially allegedly told doctors that Falak was her baby, and that her injuries were the result of a fall from her bed. The doctors called the police. The teen has been placed in a juvenile home, and has been interviewed at length by members of the Child Welfare Committee.
5) What do doctors say about the teen?
The minor girl who brought Falak to hospital has reportedly told members of the Child Welfare Committee that she has been sexually abused by a man she eloped with last year. Medical tests to determine her condition will be reported on January 31st. Doctors say her abuse may have traumatized the teen into battering the baby she was looking after.
6) What does the police say about the teen?
The police claim that the 15-year-old has said she was sexually abused by the man with whom she eloped. A senior cop also said that the police were "not ruling out the possibility that someone close to her sexually abused her in the past." They cliam that the girl was reported missing from home about a year ago; her mother dead when she was very young
7) How did the 15-year-old have baby Falak with her?
The Delhi Police believes that the teen's boyfriend got the baby from a woman he knew, who in turn had been entrusted with Falak by a woman who works as a domestic helper, who could possibly be her biological mother. The man involved has reportedly left the city for Mumbai - he is allegedly married and has moved back in with his family there.
8) What are the chain of events that the police is trying to knit together?
The police is working on the premise that the baby exchanged hands thrice before coming to the minor's 20-year-old boyfriend. The police say that the baby was initially with the domestic helper, who left her with a friend. This friend, the police say, is believed to have left the baby with another woman, a welder with whom the minor's boyfriend worked. The police investigations have reportedly revealed that the boyfriend got the baby from the welder a month ago. But when he left for Mumbai two weeks ago, the police conjecture, the teen slipped into depression. The cops say that could have made her batter the baby.
9) What has police action in the case been so far?
Three people have been detained by the Delhi Police and are reportedly being put through DNA tests to determine their links to Baby Falak. The police have registered two separate cases one about the teenage girl who was reported missing from home about a year ago, and the other about the infant being battered. Police teams are conducting raids to find the key accused.
10) Additional Commissioner of Police, Ajay Choudhury,said: "The girl has given a statement in front of the magistrate, in which she accuses the man she was living with. We are investigating those accusations and the police is searching for that man. The police is also investigating about the two-year-old baby...The kind of family the young girl comes from, her mother having died in her childhood, we cannot rule out the possibilty that she must've gone through some kind of sexual abuse in her past. If the girl takes a name, we shall take action against him as well."