Chairperson of Rajasthan Commission for Protection of Child Rights (RSCPCR) Sangeeta Beniwal has alleged that she was receiving threats in a case where a mother handed over a three-year-old girl to an NGO, but now wants her back.
According to a report by news agency ANI, Beniwal said,
I have been receiving hundreds of threats from different states over the girl’s custody. The girl was handed over to a Jodhpur-based NGO in 2010 by her mother who now wants her custody against her wish.
Adding further, she quoted:
I am receiving death threats. But when there is the question of girl’s future, I am not scared. Also, I have written a letter to the (police) commissioner yesterday on the girl’s safety. I did not inform of receiving threats earlier but am forced to do so now.
RSCPCR Chief also said that children were gifts of God and they should be kept with love and affection. She added,
Every family and commission works hard to secure the childhood of children. That’s what I also did. I am sure those who are issuing me threats now will realise this late.
The mother had handed over her three-year-old daughter to an NGO ten years ago. Now when the child is 13-14 years of age and studying in English medium school, she wants her back.
In 2011, a lady handed over her daughter to the local unit of child welfare committee (CWC) stating she was incapable of raising her and requested them to take care of her daughter till she turns 18. As per the norms, before taking the custody of the girl, the CWC took an affidavit — signed a year later in May 2012 — from the mother, after which, the girl was formally given to Navjeevan NGO to be raised.
The RSCPCR chief added that the girl was currently studying at a school and all fees were being paid by the NGO. She said,
The girl is currently studying in class sixth in a good school, which is being paid Rs 50,000 every year by the NGO for her education.
As reported by Hindustan Times, the girl’s mother suddenly returned after nine years. In February this year, the woman who works as a domestic help, demanded to take back the girl but the minor refused. Beniwal said,
In February this year, the mother of the girl requested to meet the girl, after which, the lady was granted permission to meet her daughter on a regular basis, but a few days later, the woman started threatening the NGO that it would face repercussions if the girl was not returned to her.
The girl, however, refused to stay with her mother, following which, the woman mobilised some caste-based outfits for threatening the NGO guy.
The threats did not stop only at the NGO. When the child body chief intervened, some members of the outfit also started threatening Beniwal through WhatsApp, sms texts and phone calls, saying that if the NGO didn’t hand over the custody of the girl, Beniwal would face repercussions.
RSCPCR Chief said she was not going to give into these threats. She added,
I am not afraid of the threats. The future of the girl is the most important thing for the NGO and me.
The Commission has also done counselling with the child, where she said she was scared of going with her mother. Beniwal said,
After this we had to take this tough decision to allow her to take this tough decision, knowing fully that the first priority of the commission is to unite parents and their children.