For them, it’s an emotional reunion with biological children

Shimla, Oct 26 (IANS) For both the couples, it was an emotional reunion with their biological children, literally! For the past five months they have been nurturing and playing with their ‘foster’ babies — a boy and a girl, which got swapped in a hospital.

In May, on this day the children were born in a Shimla government hospital but got swapped — inadvertently or intentionally is unclear as the case is still under police investigation.

Exactly on the same day, after a gap of five months, they were reunited with their biological parents with the intervention of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

“Ahead of Diwali, Goddess Lakshmi (baby girl) has come to our house. It’s the biggest Diwali gift for us,” a beaming Anjana Thakur told IANS here.

She said she and her husband Jatinder were, however, disappointed over losing their ‘son’, whom they had nurtured with care and love the past five months.

“I have been raising my child (son) for the past five months without knowing that one day I have to send him away. Now separating from him is more painful for the entire family,” she said with tears rolling down.

Her mother-in-law Kala Thakur said this baby girl they were getting as their own is the first granddaughter in the family.

“My family has three grandsons and she is the first granddaughter and she will be bringing fortune to the family,” she added.

For the other couple, Sheetal and schoolteacher Anil Thakur, reunion with their biological son is a day of rejoicing but they too felt pain of ‘losing’ their daughter of the past five months.

“We are demanding that whosoever is responsible for this negligence (in the hospital) should be punished so that such incidents don’t recur,” said Anil Thakur.

Expressing gratitude to the high court that asked both the couples to resolve the issue amicably — and based on DNA report facilitated exchange of their babies outside the court on October 26 — Thakur’s wife Sheetal, a mother of a four-year-old girl, said: “I am happy that finally I got my son back.”

“But personally speaking, I am pained too over losing my daughter. We both families have made a commitment to keep on meeting frequently with our children,” she said.

The high court intervened after Sheetal petitioned that she had given birth to a baby boy in the Kamla Nehru Hospital on May 26 but after 20-25 minutes a baby girl was handed over to her.

Taking serious note of the exchange of new-borns in the state’s prestigious hospital, the division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Sandeep Sharma directed the state police and hospital authorities to conclude the investigation and take the proceedings to their logical end as early as possible.

In an order reflecting the humane side of law, the court on October 21 tried to bring the two disputing couples together after the DNA report confirmed that the babies were swapped in the hospital.

Both couples stated before the court that they arrived at an amicable settlement in view of the investigation report and have decided to exchange the babies on October 26 after performing some religious ceremonies.

Listing the case for next hearing on October 27, the court directed hospital authorities to take the departmental inquiry to its logical end.

Meanwhile, the police on Tuesday arrested two hospital employees — staff nurse Pushpa Devi and midwife Rupa Devi — in the child swapping case.