News & Information From Northeast India

Exchanged at birth, Mangaldoi babies celebrate their 3rd birthday

For these two families in Darrang district of Assam, the last three years have been a toiling period. When Salima Parbin, a resident of Beelpar in Dalgaon, gave birth to her son at Mangaldai District Hospital on March 11, 2015, she wasn’t sure if the baby she brought home was actually hers.

Salima had to struggle to make her husband Sahabuddin Ahmed believe that her baby may have got exchanged at the hospital.

For Sahabuddin, the next 2 and a half years were a period of investigation, hesitation and legal hurdles.

And for Sewali Boro, wife of Anil Boro, a farmer of Bezpara village in Mangaldai, the revelation that the baby she raised all these months weren’t biologically hers, was emotionally draining.

Today on March 11, 2018, as the kids celebrate their third birthday, they are happily living with their parents irrespective of the fact that they aren’t their biological parents.

“I can proudly say today that I have two sons,” Sewali Boro told The News Mill. Sahabuddin Ahmed was more than happy to see both the kids growing up.

The story of the two kids who could unite the two families – and more so the communities – tells the tale of love, sacrifice and medical negligence.

Initiating the investigation himself, Sahabuddin took RTI route to first know if there were any tribal women in the labour room that day when his wife delivered her baby. The RTI reply gave information about Sewali Boro and her son.

The next few months, Sahabuddin found out the address of the Bodo family but couldn’t muster courage to contact them directly. “I couldn’t… Then I decided to write a letter giving my phone number. They responded around 5-6 days later. Then I, along with my wife and son, went to their home. Everything was clear by then…” he said.

The next few months saw the denial of the authorities. It meant the two couples had to move to the court requesting DNA tests.

“The legal proceedings took a lot of time. On November 27, 2017, I came to know that the DNA tests had established that the babies had got exchanged,” Sahabuddin said and added that they filed a case at the Mangadoi district court, which summoned them on January 4, 2018.

But, when the couples reached the court, it became clear that irrespective of the fact that their babies got exchanged due to medical negligence, the families can’t exchange them once again – for love. “The rest, as they say, is history,” said Anil Boro. “The kids decided their fate that day. We tried, but they refused to accept the complexities of this world. They are pure souls and for them love of their mothers they grew up with was more than anything,” he added.

The two families has since then decided to accept the fate, rather happily. “We now have two sons,” echoes the – one big – family.

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