//Dalit women sells her son for 120 USD to pay hospital bill

Dalit women sells her son for 120 USD to pay hospital bill

New Delhi – An impoverished young mother sold her newborn son in India’s southern Andhra Pradesh state so she could pay her hospital bill, news reports said Tuesday. Rajitha, 20, a single mother, sold the baby a day after he was born to a childless couple for 6,000 rupees (about 120 dollars), PTI news agency reported.

Rajitha delivered her baby by a caesarean section last week. Her hospital bills ran up to 2,000 rupees.  ‘My financial position is really bad,’ a distraught Rajitha was quoted as saying from her hospital bed in Kothagudem town in Andhra Pradesh’s Khammam district. 

The mother belongs to the Dalit community, who form the lowest rung of India’s ancient caste system and were earlier treated as untouchables. Caste discrimination was outlawed in 1947, but many of the country’s 180 million Dalits still face discrimination and are among the poorest sections of society.  Police said they may take action against the state-run hospital. An investigation is on to find out whether doctors and staff were involved in the sale.

‘Buying and selling a baby is an offence, so we will be booking cases,’ local Revenue Division official P Rajaram said. Khammam is the parliamentary constituency of India’s federal Women and Child Welfare Minister Renuka Chowdhury.

 ‘At least she is safe and at least the child is not dead and not killed. I think they are the most important things we need to look at,’ Chowdhury said.

Feb 24, 2009 ,PTI