Sunday, February 04, 2001

Face and features of a child reveals caste: BJP

SAMIRAN SAHA

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad will soon prepare a blueprint to facilitate adoption of children rendered destitute after the earthquake. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has welcomed the move, subject to one condition: that the children will be given only to those couples who belong to the same jati (caste). To ascertain to which jati a child belongs to, the BJP will go by the "face and features of the child."

A senior BJP leader said, "Bachcha to usi jati me diya jayega (Children will be given to parents from the same community)." He added: "You can make that out from the face and features of the child, which jati he or she belongs to."

According to Indian adoption laws, only Hindu families can legally adopt a child. However, the BJP and the VHP are not saying anything about the adoption of Muslim children who have been rendered destitue. Bhuj, the worst affected by the killer quake, has a large Muslim population.

Onkar Bhave, VHP joint general secretary, said, "The attempt will be to rehabilitate children in a family where they can seek parivaraik atmiyata (a homely atmosphere) and also where the children get similar surroundings like what they had before the quake. At this point of time we will not like the children to be handed over to parents who reside outside Gujarat," he said.

Face and features of a child can tell which jati he/she belongs.

Sadhavi Ritambara, a prominent sangh Parivar leader, has also offered help to children who have been rendered homeless following the quake, Bhave said. "But the children will not be taken over to Ritambara's ashram at Mathura now. The shift may lead to psychological disorder or mental trauma," he added.

Another organisation, Bapu Ashram, Bhave said, has also offered to help 25 children.

Senior BJP leader J.P. Mathur, while welcoming the VHP initiative, said the adoption move is to make sure that the children rendered destitute are rehabilitated properly. "The VHP will have two schemes - adoption and sponsoring a child on the lines of non-government organsiations."

However, some confusion persists over the sponsorship issue. The BJP said that the person sponsoring a child will need to pay Rs 10,000 for education and meeting other needs of the child.

Mathur said the sponsorship money is being taken to ensure that even if the sponsors stop financing the needs of the child, the deposit will help take care of the need of the child till the time another sponsor is found.

It can be noted that the VHP had launched a similar adoption and sponsorship scheme in Punjab while militancy was at its peak in the state.

Source: The Newspaper Today, February 4, 2001

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