Pema Jamtsho the two years and a month-old child arrived at the Woman and Child Protection Unit (WCPU) of Thimphu police station on 4 April with swollen forehead, infections on tip his nose, rash on his body, his eyes swollen and watery. But today, he looks healthy except for a slight problem with his eyes.
The WCPU personnel who in due course served as caretaker and nanny handed over the ‘Police Baby’ (as the child was called when his name was unknown) to the RENEW.
The WCPU sent Pema Jamtsho to RENEW on Friday after the 25-year old mother failed to return to the station with an eyewitness.
It is believed that the baby will be with the RENEW until a decision is made. Since WCPU did not have a proper shelter to keep the baby it was for the safety of the baby, that he was referred to RENEW.
The police could not trace the mother. It was however reported by those who knew the mother that she was seen in a drunken state near the Lugar cinema hall singing and speaking in English to passerbys.
Meanwhile RENEW issued a statement on the issue to the paper. The stament said, “It is surprising to know that WCPU was faced with dilemma.They have been dumping every case ranging from child abandonment by Indian laborers to pick pocketing children to children loitering in the street to RENEW. Why did they not remember RENEW this time?”
RENEW said that in any case WCPU is mandated to protect women and children as their name suggests. “Why should they feel they are operating like NGO? If so, they fail to understand their mandate as a protection office,” said the statement.
RENEW said the WCPU had failed their duty by not making the parents accountable – both mother and the father!
RENEW said it came to learn about the case through the media and immediately contacted the WCPU to intervene. “This is to let everyone know that the child is safely adopted by a kind couple,” said RENEW.
The NGO said that if the Police informed either NCWC or RENEW in the first place, the child would have been ensured a proper place.
According to RENEW Police should now trace the mother and the father and make them accountable because this is a case of misdemeanor under Child Care and Protection Act.
The section 59 of Child Care Protection Act (CCPA)states that a child in difficult circumstances is a child who has a parent or guardian who is unfit or incapacitated to take care of or exercise control over the child or is found to associate with any person who leads an immoral, drunken, or depraved life.
In such cases section 60 of the CCPA stated that such person shall inform the police or child welfare officer. Whenever the information has been given to the police, the police shall inform the child welfare officer expediently.
Chencho Dema / Thimphu