In a shocking development, children orphaned in Kashmir due to Covid-19 are being sold by a valley-based NGO in other states, according to an investigative report.
The report run by India Today shows one Asrar Amin, who runs an NGO in Kashmir called Global Welfare Charitable Trust, is involved in selling the Covid orphans for Rs 75,000 a child.
“We have so many orphans with us. But if one wants a Covid orphan, there’s no problem,” he said. “Kashmiri children are really beautiful, Mashallah!”
Asrar says, as per the report.
Amin demanded Rs 1.50 lakh for a pair of Covid orphans.
“So two children can be adopted for Rs 1.50 lakh, right?” asked the reporter.
“Yes. I am not taking this money for myself. It’s for my trust,” the NGO head replied.
Child adoption in India is tightly guarded, with set criteria for adoptive parents.
As a result, only 3,000 to 5,000 children are officially adopted every year on average, government data shows.
But people like Amin, India Today’s probe found, are willing to offer Covid orphans without paperwork.
“You must be adopting a child for some reason. There’s no need for paperwork in that situation. But if you still insist, you can do it,” he said.
“But what if there’s a problem tomorrow?” the reporter asked.
“That’s my headache. I’ll handle. I’ll say you never met me. I don’t know you,” Amin replied.
The India Today reporters probed further and found another NGO operator from Pampore in Kashmir offering newborn Covid orphans, some even lifted from hospitals, for adoption.
Aijaz Ahmad Dar of the Noble Foundation nonprofit told India Today’s investigative reporters in New Delhi that he would involve hospital doctors in stealing the orphaned newborns.
“Suppose there’s a newborn. We’ll get that baby lifted right away,” he said.
“Like a Covid orphan, a newborn whose mother died from Covid in the hospital?” the reporter investigated.
“That’s what I am saying. We’ll take some gynaecologists, some MD (qualified doctor), whom I know, in confidence. We’ll ask them how much money they would want if there’s a death,” Dar said. “We’ll talk to them to give us any orphan who has lost his/her mother. We’ll tell them not to send the baby to any orphanage but give it to us. We’ll update. God willing, we’ll have a child whose parent died from Covid.”
He demanded Rs 10 lakh for such a child.
“How many orphans are you in contact with in general?” asked the reporter.
“At least 500-600. From eight to ten years in age,” Dar replied.
Mannan Ansari, who manages a placement agency in Delhi’s Taimoor Nagar, admitted being a baby broker as he placed Covid orphans up for illegal adoption.
“Is there a child up for adoption, a child who lost parents to Covid?” the undercover reporter asked Ansari.
As the conversation progressed, Ansari let his hair down. He not only advised illegal adoption but also offered an infant whose father died from Covid.
“Just a couple of days ago a woman from Sarita Vihar thought about it,” Ansari said, adding she wanted to give her child for adoption.
“They were asking for Rs five lakh. It was a six-month-old child,” he continued.
“Fatherless?” the reporter inquired.
“Yes, fatherless. No need for any paperwork. Just do some minor formality so that they don’t demand the child back. Just do a mutual agreement for that.”