Shimla mothers do a swap to get back own babies

The baby exchange, following advice by the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the two families to resolve the issue mutually after Sheetal’s complaint, took place at Anjana’s home in Khalini, Shimla.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Published:October 27, 2016 4:52 am
baby-swaping-759 Sheetal Thakur (left) takes her son from Anjana Thakur, in Shimla Wednesday. Lalit Kumar

Exactly five months from the day Sheetal Thakur and Anjana Thakur gave birth to a boy and a girl respectively — and went home from Kamla Nehru Hospital, one of Shimla’s oldest medical institutions, with a girl and a boy respectively after the newborns got swapped at the hospital, they got back their own infants on Wednesday. The baby exchange, following advice by the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the two families to resolve the issue mutually after Sheetal’s complaint, took place at Anjana’s home in Khalini, Shimla.

While she was sad to hand over the infant girl — Sheetal, a nurse at a city hospital, and her schoolteacher husband Anil named her Anmol — Sheetal was overjoyed to get her son back. Things did not appear as easy for Anjana, 33, who had to part with the infant boy — Anjana and her husband Jatinder named him Nityansh. Inconsolable, she cried throughout the hour-long rituals that preceded the event of exchanging the infants. As Anjana found it difficult to hand over Nityansh, Jatinder had to do the needful.

“The emotions of a mother…it is hard for everyone to comprehend. Nityansh is the cutest baby — I have breastfed him, hugged him, cuddled him day and night, and looked after him all these days. Now it seems I can’t live without him…as if my soul is leaving my body,” Anjana said.

“Even as I am reunited with my own daughter, for whom I have waited for the last seven years ever since my first child, a son, was born, it will be very hard for me not to miss Nityansh,” she said.

Anjana — who said the infant girl “will be the Laxmi of our home who has reached us just before Diwali” — also made an offer to Sheetal. Sobbing, she said, “If the other family (Sheetal and Anil) permits, I don’t mind bringing up both kids together. I know it’s not practical but I say this as a mother.”

Sheetal said, “I am unable to realise whether I am happy or sad. I’m happy to reunite with my son after a long (legal and procedural) struggle, but sad to part with a girl child. We have a daughter (three years old), who I had brought up almost like a son. I feel sorry for Anjana — she had given all love and affection to my son.” Sheetal’s husband Anil Thakur was not present.

On Thursday, both couples will appear before the High Court bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmed Mir and Justice Sandeep Sharma to report. According to Sheetal, after a hospital nurse told her that she had given birth to a male child, she had filed a complaint with the hospital. The authorities, purportedly after an inquiry, concluded that the babies were not swapped. Sheetal then filed a petition in High Court, alleging that her male child had been swapped by the hospital staff. Two staff nurses were arrested on Tuesday in the case.

SP Negi today said, “We will submit a status report in the court on Thursday. Both parents will also be in court to confirm having resolved the issue.”