Two infants from a shelter home in Jharkhand’s Khunti were reported dead on Sunday, prompting authorities to initiate a medical and magisterial inquiry into the matter on Monday, The Telegraph reported. One of the deceased infants, identified as Palo Tuti, was reportedly relocated from the Ranchi shelter home following an investigation into an alleged illegal adoption scam at the Missionaries of Charity-run organisation where she was previously housed.
Deputy Development Commissioner Chand Kishore Mandal said an primary investigation indicated that the babies were malnourished. Both babies died at the Khunti Sadar Hospital on Sunday where they were being treated over the last week. “The medical inquiry headed by [Khunti] civil surgeon Vinod Oraon and the magisterial probe led by district social welfare officer Surjit Kumar will find reasons and fix responsibilities,” Mandal told The Telegraph. “Each team has three members.”
Khunti child welfare committee member Baidyanath Kumar said the government-aided Sanyog Village organisation should be held accountable. “We were not even told that the infants were being hospitalised,” Baidnath said.
The non-governmental organisation’s founder, Manjeet Pardesi, said the district officials pressurise them into taking in more than the shelter’s capacity. “Our maximum capacity is 10 infants,” Pardesi said. “We currently look after more than 35 infants. A month ago, child welfare officials transferred 12 infants from the Hinoo shelter. We have been crying hoarse that we don’t have room or resources, but to no avail. They just dump the babies here and forget.”
The shelter home’s administration claimed that its requests for the babies’ medical history were ignored. Pardesi accused the child welfare committee of hindering the process of handing over the children back to their parents.