The picture of strength, Anupama S Chandran had spoken with clarity and precision throughout her fight to get back her one-year-old baby, who was forcibly separated from her just three days after his birth.
Never once shedding a tear, the 22-year old woman braved heavy rains and harrowing weather to stage an agitation in front of the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW) for a fortnight, ignoring discouraging words and relentless cyber bullying during her lonely battle to reclaim the child who was living with his adoptive parents in another state altogether.
But, the usually bold and serious Anupama was visibly moved when she came out of a family court on Wednesday holding her one-year-old son tightly in her hand, after she had finally been granted custody of her child.
Her eyes sparkled and words failed her as she took on the form of the ever-caring mother keen to guard her child from the sea of media personnel who came to report on their much awaited reunion.
The elated woman later said she was yet to come to terms with the reality that she had finally won her battle and her son was with her now.
“I never ever thought that I would get him back so fast. Even during a recent visit to the state-run Child Welfare Council, an official told me that I would never get my son back as he was given in adoption. But, today, he is with me,” Anupama told PTI in an interview.
One year of waiting and weeks-long tough legal battle, protests and controversies came to an end on Wednesday as a family court granted Anupama and her partner Ajith the custody of their child after a DNA test confirmed that they were his biological parents.
The child had been under the care and protection of his adoptive parents in Andhra Pradesh till last Sunday.
She said she wanted to buy some new clothes and toys for the child and wished to spend maximum time with him.
“We would like to name him as Aiden Anu Ajith….It was the name which we selected during the time of my pregnancy. Everyone says that he is looking exactly like me…the cheeks, eyes, colour…everything,” the proud mother said with a giggle.
A former activist of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), the ruling CPI (M)’s students wing, the woman said she would surely continue the fight against the erring officials of the Child Welfare Centre and the KSCCW, who gave the baby up for adoption to a childless couple in Andhra Pradesh despite knowing that Anupama was in search of her child.
“I may not be able to continue my agitation in front of the KSCCW office here as I have to take care of my son and give him all the care and love which I could not give so far. But, I will try my best to ensure that no other child or mother is cheated like this by the state-run agency,” she said.
Anupama’s allegation that her father Jayachandran, a local leader of the ruling CPI (M), had forcibly taken away her child soon after his birth and handed him over to the KSCCW for adoption kicked up a political storm in Keralam as opposition parties used it as weapon to attack the Marxist party and the government.
Putting the CPI (M) in a tight spot, she had further claimed that though she approached several prominent party leaders including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking help to get her child back, no one supported her.
When asked how she and Ajith managed to deal with the intense cyber attacks against them, especially by the supporters of the CPI (M), Anupama said it disturbed them initially but they started ignoring it later as there was not an iota of truth in the social media campaign.
“As Ajith and myself grew up through the party outfits, we clearly know how the party followers will think if anyone points fingers at their leadership. The Marxist party is creating a group of followers who lack the ability to think and evaluate issues on their own. Such people were behind the cyber attack against us but we don’t care,” she said.
Anupama, however, said she and Ajith were had actually been reluctant to talk to the media about the plight and were confident about settling the issue through party platforms.
But the response of senior party leaders was a shock to them, she said, as the state leadership was reluctant to intervene in the matter even after repeated requests by party politburo member Brinda Karat and central committee member PK Sreemathi in this regard.
“Though they are such senior women leaders of the party, they could not help me. The CPI (M) used to wax eloquent about renaissance values and gender equality and this is the way they treat their women leaders. The party leadership still has a patriarchal mindset,” Anupama alleged.
A physics graduate, Anupama said she wants to continue her studies and become a teacher, which was her childhood dream.
“At present my focus is to nurture my baby well and raise him as a good human being. We may not be able to provide him a luxurious life. But, we will ensure that he is growing up as a good human being,” she added.
Anupama had accused her parents of forcibly taking away her new-born child from her soon after its birth a year ago and alleged that though she had complained about it to police several times since April, but they were reluctant to register a case against her family members.
However, the Peroorkkada police said a case was registered against six people — her parents, sister, sister’s husband and two of his father’s friends — and that the delay occurred as they were awaiting legal opinion.