An exemplary humanitarian gesture in Darrang, a region that has a history of Bodo-Muslim conflict.
It seems straight out of a Bollywood script. Two children born in 2015, one to a Bodo family and the other to a Muslim family in Assam's Darrang district, got swapped in hospital soon after birth. Three years later -- after a lot of effort, consultations and DNA tests -- both families agreed to exchange the babies. But when the day arrived, the kids were just unwilling to part with the families they grew up with. Overtaken by emotion, the families have now decided against the swap. So now, Darrang that has a history of Bodo-Muslim ethnic violence will set a heartwarming humanitarian example.
It all began on March 11, 2015 at the Mongoldoi civil hospital, where the wife of a 48-year-old Muslim school teacher delivered a boy. But within a week she grew suspicious. "I observed his face, it did not have any resemblance with anyone in our family, rather it was similar to a Bodo woman who was admitted to the same hospital on the day of my delivery," she told NDTV.
She shared her thoughts with her husband who approached the hospital. But he says the hospital dismissed his concern, saying he should get his wife's "mental treatment" done. It took an RTI query to find out the names of all children born in the hospital the same day. He finally zeroed in on the family of a Bodo daily wager from the same district. He approached them but they didn't seem convinced. The teacher then got a DNA profile done that proved that his wife's suspicion wasn't unfounded.
Later, he approached the police who asked him to file a case, after which DNA tests were done on the babies and the two families. The results of the tests that arrived a couple of months ago proved to be the clincher.
Both the families then filed a joint petition in court, agreeing to exchange the babies. The court fixed January 4 as the date and both parties arrived. But as they tried to part with the babies they had raised for over two years, there was an outpouring of emotion.
"The children cried a lot, we thought this way the children will die," the teacher said. Similar sentiments were echoed by the Bodo father. "We understand only one thing -- humanity. This universe is all about humanity," he said.
On the 24th of this month, both the families will go to court again, but with a different request --- let the children we have called ours till now remain that way. Forever.