Crime

Shocking report claims Kashmiri orphans being ‘sold in Indian markets’

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People standing in distance and masks on at COVID testing centre. COVID has taken lives of more than 4,400 peopl in Kashmir making thousands of children orphans. [FPK File Photo/Zainab]

Srinagar: Kashmiri children who lost their parents to the COVID are up for sale in the Indian markets, reports claimed on Wednesday.

According to a report published by India Today, Asrar Amin, who runs an NGO in Kashmir called Global Welfare Charitable Trust, claims to be working for children and family welfare in the valley, offered COVID orphans under his care for Rs 75,000 a child, when the news organization’s investigation team approached him in New Delhi

“We have so many orphans with us. But if one wants a COVID orphan, there’s no problem,” the report quoted Amin as having said.

He, according to the report, demanded Rs 1.50 lakh for a pair of COVID orphans.

“So two children can be adopted for Rs 1.50 lakh, right?” asked the reporter. “Yes. I am not taking this money for myself. It’s for my trust,” the report quoted the NGO head as having said.

“You must be adopting a child for some reason. There’s no need for paperwork in that situation. But if you still insist, you can do it,” Amin said. “But what if there’s a problem tomorrow?” the reporter asked.

“That’s my headache. I’ll handle. I’ll say you never met me. I don’t know you,” Amin replied, according to the report.

Mannan Ansari, who manages a placement agency in Delhi’s Taimoor Nagar, admitted being a baby broker as he placed COVID orphans up for illegal adoption, the report claimed.

“Is there a child up for adoption, a child who lost parents to Covid?” the undercover reporter asked Ansari. “I will help you,” he answered.

The report said Ansari not only advised illegal adoption but also offered an infant whose father died from COVID.

“Just a couple of days ago a woman from Sarita Vihar thought about it,” Ansari said, according to the report, adding she wanted to give her child for adoption.

“They were asking for Rs five lakh. It was a six-month-old child,” he continued. “Fatherless?” the reporter inquired.

“Yes, fatherless. No need for any paperwork. Just do some minor formality so that they don’t demand the child back. Just do a mutual agreement for that.”

The report claimed the news organization found another NGO operator from Pampore area of Kashmir offering newborn COVID orphans, some even lifted from hospitals, for adoption.

Aijaz Ahmad Dar of the Noble Foundation nonprofit was quoted saying that that he would involve hospital doctors in stealing the orphaned newborns.

“Suppose there’s a newborn. We’ll get that baby lifted right away,” Dar was quoted as saying.

“Like a COVID orphan, a newborn whose mother died from COVID in the hospital?” the reporter investigated.

“That’s what I am saying. We’ll take some gynecologists, some MD (qualified doctor), whom I know, in confidence. We’ll ask them how much money they would want if there’s a death,” Dar said according to the report.

“We’ll talk to them to give us any orphan who has lost his/her mother. We’ll tell them not to send the baby to any orphanage but give it to us. We’ll update. God willing, we’ll have a child whose parent died from COVID.” He demanded Rs 10 lakh for such a child.

“How many orphans are you in contact with in general?” asked the reporter. “At least 500-600. From eight to ten years in age,” Dar replied.

Pertinently, only 3,000 to 5,000 children are officially adopted every year on average, data provided by the government of India reveals.

According to a Lancet study, around 1.16 lakh children in India may have lost a parent to the disease from March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021.

The breakdown showed an estimated 25,500 children losing their mothers, some 90,751 their fathers, and 12 both parents to COVID.

An assessment by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) suggests around 3,620 children lost both their parents, some 26,176 lost one of them and 274 children have been abandoned in the country since the pandemic struck.

 

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