Kerala Woman's Fight Against Family For Custody Of One-Year-Old Child

Anupama S Chandran's father, a CPI(M) leader, is in hiding after she lodged a police complaint against him and other family members.

Anupama has alleged that police filed an FIR in the matter 6 months after she lodged a complaint

Thiruvananthapuram:

A 22-year-old woman in Kerala is fighting against her family members after they allegedly forced her to give consent to putting her one-year-old child up for adoption.

Anupama S Chandran has lodged a police complaint against her father Jayachandran P S, a CPI(M) leader in Thiruvananthapuram, and other family members in April. Her father is in hiding now. 

Anupama has accused her parents and other family members of taking away her three-day-old child in October 2020 after assaulting her and forcing her to sign a document.

She said her family did not approve of her relationship with her partner, 34-year-old Ajith Kumar, who was legally married to someone else at that time. She has also alleged that her parents repeatedly told her that Ajith is from a "lower caste" and she should not continue the relationship. 

"I told them that I wanted to read the document but they used to beat me up and threaten that they would kick my womb and kill the baby. This was happening when I was 9 months pregnant. My phone was taken away and I was not allowed to contact anyone. I caved in," Anupama told NDTV when asked why she signed the document.

In some relief for Anupama, a family court today stayed the adoption process of the child till November 1. The CPI(M)-led state government backed her in court, also demanding a stay. But according to Anupama, the support has come very late and under mounting media pressure.

"I first lodged a complaint with the local police station on April 19 this year. They just ignored us and filed an FIR only last week, after 6 months. They say they were getting a legal opinion. That's hard for me to believe. I eventually filed petitions with the DGP, the Chief Minister, several top CPI(M) leaders, but got no response from most of them," she told NDTV.

Anupama's father, who is in hiding according to the police and the CPI(M), has applied for anticipatory bail and continues to be an office-bearer of the party.

Anavoor Nagappan, CPI(M)'s Thiruvananthapuram District Secretary told NDTV, "The allegation that we did not act is not right. We called the father. We spoke to the Child Welfare Committee who said they found the child in the cradle and followed all rules before initiating adoption. We eventually called Anupama and told her this case cannot be handled by the party. This has to be sorted out legally in court. And we told her we would offer help if she moved legally."

"The father is in hiding. We've not managed to contact him. We will decide on taking action against him once we hear his version," Mr Nagappan added.

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