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Baby victim of acid attack in India gets support

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Message Bobby Ramakant
Lucknow, INDIA: The case of Baby Bitta, the youngest acid attack victim came up for hearing at the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, on 12 May 2009 at the Government Children’s Home (Infants) at Prag Narain Road.

The case was presented in the children’s court by Saaksham Foundation, an NGO working to address violations of Child Rights who has been working on Bitta’s case for police action against the culprits and financial aid to help in treatment of the child. Financial relief to be provided for the child’s treatment which will be on for the next 15 years has been requested as the child’s parents will not be able to bear, which will affect the quality of life of the child in the future and deny her her rights to live a normal life with dignity.

A letter in this regard was already sent off by Saaksham Foundation to the Welfare Society at Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU) seeking financial relief for treatment of the child on 2 May 2009 (Copy of the said letter available with Lucknow Childline).

The child was operated on April 17 at the CSMMU Dept of Plastic Surgery, and as per the report given by Dr AK Singh, Head of the Plastic Surgery Department, which has also been forwarded to the Chairman, Welfare Society, CSMMU DR Saroj Chooramani who also is the Vice Chancellor of the Medical University.

As per Dr Singh’s report, “Bitta was admitted with neck contracture, scarring of face and deformity of eyes, nose and mouth. The patient will require further multiple surgeries in due course of time. The appropriate treatment will be Rs 1 lakh.”

While the case is still pending at the Chairman, Welfare Society’s office, the CWC on hearing the case presented in the children’s court on May 12 2009 has send a letter to the Chairman strongly recommending the consideration of the case of the child and grant financial relief in the interest of the Care and Protection of the child which is her right granted under Juvenile Justice Act.

Dr Brigeetha VV, Chairperson of the CWC said, “It is extremely disgusting to hear that children are being attacked like this. Such instances were only heard when adults got into altercations, but it is unfortunate that even children as young as 3 months are not being spared now. I also feel that such decisions to be made on children’s rights must be done by independent bodies which should be created by the state and they should have a say in departmental functioning on matters like how to allocate funds and use for cases in distress similar to that of Bitta. This way there will be transparency in dealing with request that come for financial aid and they can get help in time too.”

Sadhana Mehrotra, Member, CWC said,”Not only financial aid but also timely police action against the culprits should made mandatory so that in such cases the relief and help can be given in shortest possible time and the culprits apprehended without delay. This way an example should be set which will discourage such heinous crimes against children in the future.”

The child’s family was also present before the members of CWC and put there case across.
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Bobby Ramakant is a development journalist and has been writing on development issues since 1991. Health is one of the key focus areas he writes on. He is also a World Health Organization (WHO)'s WNTD awardee for 2008
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