THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The seven-member family which was rescued from poor living conditions in a shack at Kaithamukku in Sreekanteswaram ward of the Thiruvananthapuram corporation will now reside at a child-care institution at Vellanad.
The District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) rescued four of the six children and put them under the care of the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW) on Friday after news came out that the family had been living in abject poverty and that the elder children were forced to eat soil to satisfy their hunger. Later, the mother and two smaller children were shifted to Mahila Mandiram.
The authorities on Tuesday refuted reports that the children are malnourished, saying the children and the mother are in good health.
“The children are attached to their mother. And it will not be suitable to lodge them separately. Also, the mother’s mental health will have to be taken into consideration. Hence, it was decided to lodge them together,” said a DCPU official.
The official added that this will be a temporary arrangement and the future course of action will be decided after further deliberation. Asked whether the children or the mother are facing any health issues, he said that neither of the six children is malnourished and the mother is also in good health.
“Considering the physical condition of the children, it can’t be judged that they consumed soil to satisfy their hunger. The repeated childbirths had made the mother weak but, otherwise, she is healthy. Her three children go to school and they receive meals from there. Another one is going to an anganwadi,” added the official. The authorities also said the children and the lactating woman were provided with food supplements.
Case against father
In a press conference, KSCCW general secretary S P Deepak said the council will demand criminal proceedings against Kunjumon, the father, for physically and mentally abusing the children and the mother.
“We will submit a report in this regard to the state government and the state police chief. He is a drunkard and does not care for the family. The children and the mother also testified that he had been abusing them both physically and mentally. He will get charged under relevant sections of the Juvenile Justice Act,” said Deepak.
The children were subjected to a thorough health screening. “A team of doctors at SAT Hospital attended to them. It was found that two of them had a chest infection. One of the infants also displayed scabies-like symptoms. The medical reports will also be forwarded to the government,” added Deepak.
Council defends report
Asked about the authenticity of the council’s report that the elder children had to eat soil to satisfy their hunger, Deepak said they came to such a conclusion based on ground reports.“The mother is only 29. She got married seven years back. In these seven years, she gave birth to six children. As per the mother’s account, she wanted to undergo permanent birth control after two deliveries, but her husband opposed it vehemently,” said Deepak.
Mayor offers job for woman
T’Puram: Mayor K Sreekumar on Tuesday informed the mother of six children who were rescued from a shack at Kaithamukku in Sreekanteswaram ward that she would be provided with a temporary job by the city corporation. The mother will get a daily wage of D630 and will have to join work within 15 days. The mayor added that the family would be provided with a flat as per the availability in the building complexes at Kalladimukham or Karimadam.