Craving motherhood

The dream of slain Zahid Farooq’s family to adopt an abandoned newborn was shattered after court gave the custody of the child to another family. Aliya Bashir reports

In the small sized room, there is silence and despair. Women neighbours and relatives are visiting the family. The family which lost their only son, Zahid Farooq, last year, was trying to adopt an abandoned baby boy. The family had even thought of a name for him – Zahid.

Parveena Begum was surrounded by some women trying to console her at her home in Brein, Nishat. Parveena Begum who lost her only son, Zahid, to bullets shot by Border Security Force personnel on February 5 last year, on a rainy Friday afternoon.

More than a year after the incident, the family had to suffer again. This time in a much different way. To overcome the trauma of losing their only son, the family mulled adopting a child to somewhat fill the void created by the loss of their son.

“When our neighbours informed us about the abandoned male baby, we immediately rushed to the hospital where they advised us to report to police station Rajbagh. After that we filed an application to seek custody of abandoned male child in the court,” says Farooq Ahmed, father of Zahid.

 

A newborn male child had been left abandoned by his parents in one of the wards of the hospital without informing the doctors. The child was taken care of by the hospital administration while police station Rajbagh registered an FIR under section 317 RPC. Section 317 relates to ‘exposure and abandonment of child under twelve years by parent or person having care of it’ and carries a punishment of seven years of imprisonment or fine or both.

The family tried hard for adopting a 10-day-old abandoned male child. They were hopeful of getting his custody.

“See these are the new clothes I had purchased for baby boy,” says Parveena Begum. “When we came to know that the case is under same magistrate of Zahid’s case, we were sure that he would take us as a special case, without just focussing on assets.”

The court received more than a dozen applications for adoption of the abandoned newborn, including one from Zahid Farooq’s family. The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar, Yashpaul Bourney, however, gave the custody of the abandoned baby to another couple on June 7.

The family was shattered as it had pinned hopes on getting the child.

“I had pinned all hopes for the arrival of new baby as I cannot conceive again. He was my little Zahid. Again they snatched mercilessly my Zahid from me. Once again I lost him,” says Parveena in a voice choked with emotions.

The family has been unable to overcome the trauma of losing their son.

“No doubt, a well-off couple were given the custody of the child. But, I have lost my only son to the bullets. The tragedy left our whole family crippled. My elder daughter is suffering from heart ailment. My wife is ill,” says Zahid’s father Farooq Ahmed.

The family had submitted all documents needed for adopting a child but the court did not rule in their favour.

Farooq has two daughters Farhat, 18 and five-year-old Aqsa, while their teenaged son was killed. Since his death Farhat is suffering from depression and heart ailments.

“Zahid bhaya had lot of interest in computers and I liked sciences. But now he is no more I hate both. Everything is meaningless,” says Farhat. Aqsa had lot of attachment with his brother and keeps on enquiring about him.

Aqsa is too young to understand, as she keeps on talking about his brother and is waiting for his arrival. “Whenever she asks about Zahid, we tell her that he is in America (USA) and he will be come back after becoming a doctor.  She repeats his name several times, especially when she hears the sound of an aeroplane or a helicopter,” says Parveena.

Bashir Siddique, Senior Advocate, J&K, High Court, who had recently fought a similar case of two abandoned girls says that on an average they receive two-three cases of abandonment in a month.

“The court received around a dozen applications for the custody of the newborn. But besides all other qualifications, the welfare of the child was our top priority. It is very encouraging to see many couples coming forward to adopt a newborn baby, who was abandoned by his unfortunate parents,” he says.
Zahid was killed when a BSF personnel allegedly shot him. Police registered a case under FIR number 04/2010 under section 302/109, 201 of RPC. The accused BSF constable Lakhwinder Singh and his commandant R K Birdi were arrested in the case.

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