Infant starved, thrashed by parents, rescued

Baby found lying on floor amid food packets and dirty laundry, sent to ICH in Egmore
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

CHENNAI: The District Child Protection Unit on Monday night rescued a three-month-old baby who was allegedly starved and beaten by his parents in Guindy. The couple was admitted to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for a mental health assessment.

While no case has been registered so far, the child is undergoing treatment. The incident came to light when Childline (1098) received a call at 10.30 pm about a child being thrashing by alcoholic parents. Child protection unit staff rushed to Naiker Reddy Thottam in Guindy.

AT Ramesh Karthik, District Child Protection Officer, Chennai, said “We found the parents and the three-month-old living in a very small, filthy room. The baby was lying on the floor, surrounded by food packets and dirty clothes.” Even as the child was being taken away, the mother did not respond but quietly watched the officials.

The child was rushed to The Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children in Egmore. “The woman had matted hair and it looked like she had not bathed for days. Later, her husband also reached home and since their answers were somewhat strange, they were sent to the IMH for an assessment of their mental health, the results of which are awaited,” said Ramesh Karthik.

The man, identified as Saravanan, is a daily wage labourer while the woman, Sathya, was staying at home. “The neighbours said that the couple used to beat the child often and they would hear screams throughout the night. If the child cried after the couple got drunk they would beat it,” said a member of the Childline unit, who was part of the rescue team.

The child has been allotted a volunteer and is under constant care. “The baby is malnourished and his bones are showing. The volunteer and doctors said the baby was so hungry that he emptied bottles of milk within minutes,” said Ramesh Karthik.

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