Rajasthani couple with 7 sons,wants to keep abandoned girl child in Dholpur district

Rajathani couple with 7 sons,wants to keep abandoned girl child in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district

Jaipur,Sept25:For Leeladhar Kushwaha and wife Sukh Devi, who had seven sons but longed for a girl child, joy knew no bounds when they found an abandoned newborn girl near their farm in a Rajasthan village on September 16, two days after their seventh son was born.

But their joy was short-lived when Kushwaha, a 35-year-old farmer of Saimar Ka Pura village in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district, approached authorities for financial help to raise the girl.

The child welfare committee (CWC), which is the legal custodian of abandoned children, asked them to return the baby girl by Monday or face criminal charges.

“There is a legal process for adoption. No one can keep abandoned infants just like that,” said Dr Naresh Sharma, a member of Dholpur CWC.

Leeladhar Kushwaha and wife Sukh Devi pose with the abandoned baby girl and their seven sons outside their house in Saimar Ka Pura village in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district.

He explained that it takes two months for an abandoned infant to become eligible for adoption.

“In two months, police try to look for the baby’s biological parents. If the newborn is sick, the baby needs treatment. All this takes close to two months. After that, we inform CARA (central adoption resource authority) that the child is available for adoption,” he said.

But in Saimar Ka Pura, Kushwaha’s wife, Sukh Devi is unwilling to part with her “gift from Goddess Durga”. “We have waited for a girl for so long. Goddess Durga finally heard our prayers. There is no question of letting her go,” said the 32-year-old housewife.

The couple says they always wanted a girl to complete their family and ended up having seven sons in the process.

“After our seventh son was born, we thought we will not have another child and look for a girl to adopt. But see, God already gave one to us,” said Kushwaha, who owns six bighas of land in the village, which is close to the national highway connecting Agra to Gwalior.

Saimar Ka Pura is part of Baretha gram panchayat, which doesn’t have a hospital. Sukh Devi delivered all her children at home assisted by local midwives.

Sangeeta Devi, a school teacher at a government primary school in the village, said she had advised the couple not to have so many children for a girl.

“I said they could adopt a girl if they were so keen but why expand their family size but the woman said she wanted a girl from her own womb,” she said.

The couple’s eldest son is 16 years old and dropped out of school after class 8. He assists Kushwaha in farming. Three others younger to him go to school and are in classes 5, 4 and 3.

Sukh Devi is happy to breastfeed the two newborns simultaneously.

As the deadline for handing over the girl to the CWC nears, the couple is talking to lawyers on how they could keep the girl.

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