Let Good Sense Prevail — An Open Letter to the Kerala Chief Minister: Padmini Swaminathan

That the entire state machinery, ostensibly at the behest of parents who are important functionaries in the ruling party, has been deployed to not only keep the baby, mother and father apart but hem them in such a way that redressal will require untangling of very many complex issues that have deliberately been tied together, reveals the deep and destructive patriarchal underpinnings of the party and family.

Sri Pinarayi Vijayan

Hon. Chief Minister

Kerala.                                                                                       November 16, 2021

Dear Sir                                         

On November 6, 2021, the HINDU covered the story (titled, A missing baby and a flustered state by R K Roshni) of a young woman in search of her baby that had been snatched away from her.

The details documented in the report are deeply disturbing and shocking, to say the least. Coming from a state, that, we as social scientists, have always looked up to and held as a beacon of social development, has left me numb and shattered.

That the entire state machinery, ostensibly at the behest of parents who are important functionaries in the ruling party, has been deployed to not only keep the baby, mother and father apart but hem them in such a way that redressal will require untangling of very many complex issues that have deliberately been tied together, reveals the deep and destructive patriarchal underpinnings of the party and family. In fact, reading between the lines, it is clear there is connivance all round so that ‘deviants’ like Anupama and Ajith are taught a lesson and the ‘honour’ of Anupama’s natal family is ‘restored’. 

Questions of morality apart, from a legal angle, it transpires from the report, that the child’s biological parents are not minors. On what basis then, and, on whose complaint has the state set in motion this complex multi-agency operation (as outlined in the Hindu report mentioned above)?

Needless to state, it is not only the honour of the ruling party that is at stake here; this is a clear case of criminal offence involving kidnapping, stealing and abduction of a child from its lawful guardians.

This letter is written in the hope that good sense will prevail and the child restored to the parents forthwith without recourse to lame excuses such as, that the different departments working on the issue are still attempting to coordinate and figure out whether the child was abandoned, given in adoption, or surrendered. Worse, I fear that, in the name of establishing that the said couple are in fact the biological parents, the mooting of a DNA test could further delay and render an already complicated issue more and irretrievably complex. 

As the head of the country’s most progressive state may we expect, Sir, that you will exercise your authority and end this mother’s search and restore her child to her?

Yours in hope

Padmini Swaminathan, independent researcher, Chennai

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