An impoverished tribal couple in Chamarajanagar district have allegedly sold their month-old daughter for `10,000.
The couple live in Kolipalya, a tiny hamlet on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border. It recently came to light that they gave away their baby to a family near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
Neighbours pleading anonymity said Sumithra Bai and her husband Anand Nayak, an agricultural labourer, sold the child in the first week of November. The couple already have a two-year-old daughter and neighbours say the family was disappointed when Sumithra gave birth to a second girl on October 13.
Anganwadi workers, who monitor pregnancies and child births, confirmed the child had gone missing. The couple maintained that they had given away the child to relatives as they could not afford to raise it.
Officials of the Women and Child Welfare Department are trying to find out if sale of children is common among impoverished tribal families.
Sumithra said the government’s ration of 30 kg of rice was not enough to run the family. Her husband is the sole breadwinner, but he doesn’t earn enough for groceries, clothes and medical expenses.
“Who will give us money to feed two children and the others in our family?” she said, when reporters asked her about the child.
Basavaraju, Deputy Director of the Women and Child Welfare Department, visited the village and interacted with the family.
He said he has given them a week to bring the child back. “The government has many welfare schemes to take care of children,” he said. “They can leave the child in an anganwadi during the day.”
Basavaraju said he has informed the local police of the incident. He threatened legal action against the couple if the charge of selling their child is proved.