Do not let the injustice drag infinitely — Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala — Dr Gayatri Devi

Anupama has committed no crime. She got pregnant. She did not murder anyone. She did not rob a bank. She did not betray the nation. She committed no terroristic threats or acts. She is not a smuggler, a thief, a rapist, or a crook. She got pregnant. Getting pregnant is not a crime. She got pregnant and decided to keep her baby. This is not a crime.

Prof Gayatri Devi writes about the shameful delay of justice to Anupama, whose baby was snatched and given away for adoption by her own parents — both local leaders of the CPM — without her consent, simply because she chose a partner they did not approve of. The case exposed the rampant casteism and pervasive patriarchy at the local level of the ‘progressive’ left community in Kerala. Her open letter is below:

Dr. Gayatri Devi, Professor of English, Savannah College of Art and Design.

Savannah, Georgia

November 15, 2021

Respected Honorable Chief Minister Sri. Pinarayi Vijayan:

I trust this finds you well. I am writing you today with the urgent request to put the full force of your cabinet to find and return Smt. Anupama’s infant son who was abducted by his grandparents and allegedly given up for adoption three days after his birth one year ago. I am also writing to request that Smt. Anupama’s father, mother, other family members and all CPI-M party members and leaders who aided and abetted this abduction lose their party membership and be brought to the rule of law at the earliest.

Abducting a child and giving it away without its parental consent is a crime. As Smt. Anupama has repeatedly professed for nearly one full year now, she did not give her consent to remove her infant son from her care. The mere fact that Smt. Anupama has been in a highly publicized search for her infant son is strong proof and evidence that Smt. Anupama wants her infant son back with her at the earliest, unharmed and in good health.

Smt. Anupama’s father, Mr. Jayachandran has no legal or moral right to take away her son without her consent. Smt. Anupama has committed no crime. She got pregnant. She did not murder anyone. She did not rob a bank. She did not betray the nation. She committed no terroristic threats or acts. She is not a smuggler, a thief, a rapist, or a crook. She got pregnant. Getting pregnant is not a crime. She got pregnant and decided to keep her baby. This is not a crime.

Under the circumstances, forcibly imprisoning her, separating her from her chosen partner, and, finally, abducting and giving away the infant son that she gave birth to are criminal acts perpetrated by her father and her mother. Domestic abuse and domestic violence are punishable crimes in Kerala whether done by parents, grandparents, children, or a partner. I urge you to use your executive powers as the Chief Minister to bring Smt. Anupama’s parents under the swift rule of law. You have the power and the authority to right an extremely immoral act perpetrated in the name of caste.

Because this child abduction and child disappearance are acts done to preserve caste hierarchy. It was not too long ago that you yourself was called a caste slur by an opposition political leader. Though you were stoic about the whole affair, your party members wanted to protest and strike on your behalf against the caste slur used against you. Smt. Anupama’s father Mr. Jayachandran has made statements in the media that his animosity towards Smt. Anupama’s partner is not motivated by Mr. Ajith’s Dalit Christian caste identity. He has stated that he himself married a Christian outside his Ezhava caste.

However, it is my firm belief that Mr. Jayachandran’s wanton act of child abduction and the removal of his grandson stemmed from the privileged position of a pecking order of caste hierarchy in Kerala where the Ezhava-Christian matrimonial pair is seen as a step above an Ezhava-Dalit couple. Caste inequities work in subtle and not-so-subtle ways in these days of equality on paper. Mr. Jayachandran with fully displayed patriarchal conviction evidently sees his daughter as representing him and his caste. His dominant gaze perhaps sees his infant grandson as a Dalit contender to his patriarchal power and position. This anger and intolerance towards a Dalit infant growing up to be a Dalit man associated with his daughter and his family name might have precipitated this extremely immoral act of child abduction and abandonment.

I request you once again to urgently authorize finding Smt. Anupama’s missing son without any further delay. Time is of the essence here. If at all Mr. Jayachandran is telling the truth and the infant son was indeed given away in adoption instead of finding some other devastating end, then time is of the essence in finding this child and reuniting him with his birth mother and birth father. There are the unfortunate adoptive parents who will have to return a child after a year’s worth of familial bonding. There are no good outcomes here if this injustice drags on indefinitely. The best and most moral and correct outcome is to retrieve the child safely and reunite him with his birth mother.

Thank you for reading my request, Honorable Chief Minister. You put the full force of your government and even the state police to ensure that women in Kerala were able to worship at Sabarimala. While such freedoms might be consequential in the larger gains fought and won by Malayali women, nothing in this world matches the limitless love a mother has for her child. The freedom of a mother to hold and love her child and bring him up as a good human being is the highest form of human freedom. I request you to do everything within your executive power to find and return Smt. Anupama’s son to her without any further delay.

Thank you.

Gayatri Devi

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