In Shimla, five months after swap, babies will return to their original parents

Two newborn babies, a girl and a boy, who got swapped at birth in a Shimla hospital five months ago, are now set to be reunited with their original parents.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Updated: October 22, 2016 10:50 am
babies swapped at hospital, shimla hospital, shimla hospitals, babies exchanged at hospital, shimla news, india news Sheetal (left), Anjana outside Himachal HC. (Source: Express photo by Lalit Kumar)

IT TOOK a lot of tears, a mother’s perseverance and even a DNA report. But in the end, there were smiles all around. Two newborn babies, a girl and a boy, who got swapped at birth in a Shimla hospital five months ago, are now set to be reunited with their original parents. The happy ending came about after the Himachal Pradesh High Court received a police report, including a DNA test result, confirming that the boy belonged to Sheetal and Anil Thakur. Since May 26, they had been raising the girl who will now be handed back to Anjana and Jatinder Thakur.

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The couples agreed to return the babies to each other after a High Court bench — Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmed Mir and Justice Sandeep Sharma — suggested on Friday that they “meet outside” and reach a settlement.

Both sides are now eagerly awaiting the big day — October 26 — when the babies will be exchanged. Shimla police, meanwhile, have promised action against “erring officials” of the Kamla Nehru Hospital (KNH), where the swap allegedly took place.

”The judges gave us an opportunity to meet outside court and resolve the matter. The issue involved human emotions and we understood what the court wanted from us,” said Sheetal, 30, a nurse at Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital who already has a four-year-old daughter.

”After all, for five months, I have been feeding the girl. I know her routine — feeding, sleep and play time. It’s tough but also a time of joy to get my own baby back,” said an emotional Sheetal, as she stood with her husband Anil, a schoolteacher, outside the court.

”I can understand the pain and emotions of a mother who has remained without her own baby. It’s not a question of a boy or a girl for me, it’s a different feeling. I have a son, who is eight years old, and we had been waiting for a girl. I am so happy to know that I will have an angel in my lap soon,” said Anjana, 33, at her residence in Khalini, where the babies will be exchanged next week.

Sheetal had named the girl Anmol, while Anjana had named the boy Nityansh.

The saga came to a close after the High Court took up a petition from Sheetal and ordered Shimla SP D W Negi on October 5 to probe the allegations of child-swapping and conduct a DNA test. The court will be officially informed about the settlement on October 27.

In her petition, Sheetal claimed that an employee inside the delivery room of KNH had told her that she had actually delivered a boy and that the babies may have been swapped.

The hospital authorities had initially denied that the babies had been swapped and pointed to their records to support their version. “We have nothing more to say other than what our records state,” said a hospital official. “We will now take action against erring officials as per the law and court orders,” said SP Negi.