Hyderabad: The Telangana government today promised action against those responsible for child trafficking after NDTV aired its expose of an existing racket in the state to sell baby girls for adoption.
As the Twitter hashtag #babiesbazaar started buzzing with outrage, state home minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy told NDTV, “We will not tolerate such a thing. The brokers selling babies will be put in jail. We had no idea… now that we know, we’ll take serious action.”
Deputy Chief Minister Mohammad Mahmood Ali added, “We will take legal action. We will get the women and child development ministry to investigate the case.”
Posing as a childless couple who wanted a baby, an NDTV team had travelled to Nalgonda, one of the most backward districts of Telangana. At a government-run children’s home, they were offered a baby girl in exchange for money.
The attendants and middlemen confessed to selling babies prospective parents for as little as Rs. 4000 to Rs. 5000. Even the local auto drivers knew of the trafficking racket and were apparently complicit in it, NDTV found. The brokers had strong political connections.
Most of the baby girls at the government home were given up for adoption by families which wanted only boys. In the poverty-ridden tribal belt of the state many think it is pragmatic to give up a baby girl, especially if they also get some money in exchange, NDTV found.
Asked about the political connections of the broker involved, Mr Reddy said, “Political connections will be of no avail. We will not let this pass.”
Admitting that the K Chandrasekhar Rao government was aware of the problem — which has been prevalent among the banjara community – parliamentarian of the state’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, B Vinod, said the state government will now crack down on it.
“It is shameful that young children are stolen, sold and bought like animals, sometimes at lesser price than animals,” said Nobel peace laureate and founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan Kailash Satyarthi.