Friday, January 15, 2010

Nari Niketan Rape Victim gives birth to a baby girl on 03 Dec 09- World Disability Day!

Dear Friends,

We continue to learn from the life of the Chandigarh Nari Niketan Rape Victim - a mentally retarded girl. The God chose the day of birth -03rd December -World Disability Day. For media, its a great story, for me it is a great lesson for humanity and to understand abilities of those experiencing disabilities.

The mother has many hopes from the newborn as covered in the article below. The little child seem to be healthy and what amazes every one is that how the mentally retarded girl has adopted to motherhood! Nature continues to amaze all of us with the human instincts that it gives to the living species including men and women whom some experts may label as "incapable to taking care of themselves"!

I had covered this issue at great length in my earlier posts on my other blog "Disability  Rights through Courts" the links of which are as below:
http://disabilityrightsthroughcourts.blogspot.com/2009/07/detailed-facts-of-chandigarh-case-of.html

http://disabilityrightsthroughcourts.blogspot.com/2009/07/raped-mentally-challenged-firl-can.html
http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=8131563375136204790&postID=3457818963549407026

Hope we all continue to learn from the developments as they continue to unfold.

regards
Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Human Rights Worker
To read from source Click here:
‘Want daughter to be a doctor, to take care of me’


Like any young mother, she dotes on her newborn daughter and hopes that the baby will grow up to become a doctor. But her journey to motherhood has been far from normal.

When she gave birth on December 3 —World Disability Day — Sheila (name changed), who is in her late teens and mentally challenged, had crossed hurdles she could barely understand. Not only had she been raped and impregnated at the Nari Niketan here, the Chandigarh administration had convinced the Punjab and Haryana High Court barely a month ago that Sheila was not capable of looking after an infant and that the child would be a “toy” to her. That Sheila had been firm in her resolve to keep her baby was barely taken into consideration when it was ordered that her baby be aborted in the seventh month of pregnancy. A Supreme Court order, however, overturned this verdict.

Today, doctors at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) are pleasantly surprised at the ease with which Sheila has adapted to motherhood.

“I am her mother. I will make sure that she grows up to be a doctor. Doctors are good human beings who alleviate the pain of others. No one has ever taken care of me. She will grow up and take care of me,” she says as she burps her baby, whom she has named Pari, before putting her to sleep. When asked who taught her how to do these tasks, she replies, “I took take care of an inmate’s baby at Nari Niketan. She was my best friend.”

But Sheila’s experience at Nari Niketan — a centre for destitute women — was nothing short of a nightmare. “I don’t ever want to go back,” she says. It was there, as investigations and subsequent high court judgments have shown, that she was repeatedly raped by three of the staff members of the institution in connivance with two female staff members who would beat her into submission. The child’s paternity will be known only after DNA tests.

“I want to go back to Ashreya. That is where they take care of me,” she says, referring to another government-run institute for the mentally challenged. It is Dr Raj Bahadur — Director, GMCH, and in-charge of Ashreya — who along with his staff has been credited for the marked improvement Sheila has shown after her ordeal.

“To be honest, even I am surprised at the tremendous maternal instincts she is showing. In fact, even her mental state has improved considerably after the child’s birth. Contrary to fears that she would be violent and may harm the baby, she is protective and caring and doesn’t even like staff members handling her,” he says.

Even as offers of help from various NGOs, social institutions and philanthropists pour in, the UT administration has decided to take full responsibility of the child and the mother. “All the expenditure of the child, mother, education, upkeep would be borne by the administration until the child completes her education and reaches adulthood,” says Anupam Gupta, senior standing counsel for the UT administration in this case.

This decision follows the Supreme Court’s overturning of the High Court’s verdict to abort the child in the seventh month of pregnancy. The apex court’s intervention had come as a result of an appeal made by amicus curiae R S Cheema. “The plea that the girl is of unsound mind and a minor and hence her consent is not valid was fallacious. There is no guardian, and the government said that since we are the custodians, our decision is valid. This again was again dangerous. If the child was aborted, it would have absolved the authorities. Remember, the rape took place under their custody and any decision to abort would have set a precedent that if a rape of a minor took place in government’s custody, they were free to go for termination of pregnancy,” says Cheema.

Next week, the mother and child will move back to Ashreya. “She is looking forward to that. She is very particular about the needs of baby and doesn’t like it if we hold her for long periods,” says Sonu, an attendant. As one leaves her room, Sheila says goodbye but not without a reminder to “bring sweets for Pari next time”.

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